Full text of "Poems"
: R K E L E Y^
All FORM I A 7
CLEMENT C. MOORE, LL. D.
Et sermone opus est modo tristi, saepe jocoso. HOR.
NEW YORK :
BARTLETT & WELFORD,
7 ASTOR HOUSE
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1844, by
CLEMENT C. MOORE,
in the Clerk's office of the District Court of the Southern District of
WM. VAN NORDEN, PRINTER.
MY DEAR CHILDREN:
IN compliance with your wishes, I here present you
with a volume of verses, written by me at different
periods of my life.
You may perceive that the pieces contained in it are
not arranged in the order of the times at which they
were composed; for, not only would it be impossible
for me now to make such an arrangement with precision,
but it was thought best that the serious should be inter
mingled with the gay, and the shorter with the longer
I have not made a selection from among my verses
of such as are of any peculiar cast ; but have given
you the melancholy and the lively, the serious, the
sportive, and even the trifling ; such as relate solely to
our own domestic circle, and those of which the sub
jects take a wider range. For, as you once persuaded
me to sit for my portrait, which was the occasion of one
of the pieces in this collection ; so, I flatter myself that
you will be pleased to have as true a picture as possible
of your father's mind, upon which you and your chil
dren may look when I shall be removed from this world.
Were I to offer you nothing but what is gay and lively,
you well know that the deepest and keenest feelings of
your father's heart would not be portrayed. If, on the
other hand, nothing but what is serious or sad had been
presented to your view, an equally imperfect character
of his mind would have been exhibited. For you are
all aware that he is far from following the school of
Chesterfield with regard to harmless mirth and merri
ment ; and that, in spite of all the cares and sorrows of
this life, he thinks we are so constituted that a good
honest hearty laugh, which conceals no malice, and is
excited by nothing corrupt, however ungenteel it may
be, is healthful both to body and mind. And it is one
of the benevolent ordinances of Providence, that we are
thus capable of these alternations of sorrow and trouble
with mirth and gladness. Another reason why the mere
trifles in this volume have not been withheld, is, that
such things have been often found by me to afford greater
k pleasure than what was by myself esteemed of more
I do not pay my readers so ill a compliment as to
offer the contents of this volume to their view as the
mere amusements of my idle hours ; effusions thrown
off without care or meditation, as though the refuse of
my thoughts were good enough for them. On the con
trary, some of the pieces have cost me much time and
thought ; and I have composed them all as carefully and
correctly as I could.
I wish you to bear in mind that nothing which may
appear severe or sarcastic in this collection, is pointed
at any individual. Where vice or absurdity is held up
to view, it is the fault, and not any particular person
that is pointed at.
Notwithstanding the partiality of you and my friends,
I feel much reluctance to publish this volume ; and have
much doubt as to its merit. Had she who wrote the
lines signed " La Mere de Cinq Erifans," and those
upon the death of your cousin, Susan Moore, which ap
pear in this collection, been still spared to me, her
native taste and judgment would have afforded me great
assistance in putting together this little work, and would
have enabled me to act with much more confidence than
I now can. But whatever be the merit of the offering
which I here make to you, receive and look upon it as
a token of the affection of your father.
C. C. M.
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
A TRIP TO SARATOGA, - 15
To MY CHILDREN, with my Portrait, 65
To THE FASHIONABLE PART OF MY YOUNG COUN
THE MISCHIEVOUS MUSE Translation, 74
LlNES WRITTEN AFTER A FALL OF SNOW, 80
To YOUNG LADIES WHO ATTENDED PHILOSOPHI
CAL LECTURES, - 83
ON SEEING MY NAME WRITTEN IN THE SAND OF
THE SEA- SHORE, - 88
ON COWPER THE POET, - 89
To PETROSA, 92
TRANSLATION OF AN ODE OF METASTASIO, - 95
A SONG, - 101
OLD DOBBIN, - 104
APOLOGY FOR NOT ACCEPTING AN INVITATION TO
A BALL, - 105
ANSWER TO THE ABOVE, by Mr. Bard, - - 109
TRANSLATION OF A CHORUS IN AESCHYLUS, - 111
LlNES ACCOMPANYING SOME BALLS SENT TO A
FRAGMENT FAIR, - 114
To A LADY, - 118
A VISIT FROM ST. NICHOLAS, - - - 124
FROM A HUSBAND TO HIS WIFE, - - 128
LINES BY MY LATE WIFE, written in an Al
bum, . 133
LlNES ACCOMPANYING A BUNCH OF FLOWERS, - 135
ANSWER TO THE ABOVE, by Mr. Hone, - - 137
LlNES WRITTEN AFTER A SEASON OF YELLOW
FEVER, - - - 139
To THE NYMPHS OF MOUNT HARMONY, - - 148
To A YOUNG LADY, ON HER BIRTH-DAY, - - 154
ON RECEIVING FROM A FRIEND A CARICATURE
CAST OF PAGANINI, . 157
THE ORGANIST, - - . . 159
THE PIG AND THE ROOSTER, - - . 165
LINES TO A YOUNG LADY FOR VALENTINE'S
DAY, - 170
THE WINE DRINKER, - . - - 174
THE WATER DRINKER, . . - 183
LINES SENT TO A YOUNG LADY, WITH A PAIR OF
GLOVES, - 193
FAREWELL In answer to a young lady's invita
tion to join a party of pleasure on an
excursion to the country, - . - 195
LINES ON THE SISTERS OF CHARITY, - . 198
To MY DAUGHTER, ON HER MARRIAGE, - . 204
LINES TO THE MEMORY OF Miss SUSAN MOORE,
by my late wife, - . 209
To SOUTHEY, ..... 212
A TRIP TO SARATOGA
A TRIP TO SARATOGA
IT was the opening spring-time of the year,
When captives struggle most to break their chains,
And brooks let loose, and swelling buds, appear,
And youthful blood seems starting from the veins,
When Henry Mildmay, in his breakfast hall,
Had press'd good morrow on each daughter's lip,
And, seated at the board, his children all,
By concert, urg'd him for a summer trip.
16 A TRIP TO SARATOGA.
" One at a time, for pity's sake, my dears,"
Half laughing, half provok'd, at length he said,
" This babylonish din about my ears
Confounds my brain, and nearly splits my head."
And well might Henry of the rout complain
That broke the comfort of his morning meal ;
For tongues, as wild as colts that spurn the rein,
Maintain'd, in loud debate, a ceaseless peal.
Three clamorous girls, as many boisterous boys,
All straining at their topmost voice to speak,
In ev'ry tone, from childhood's piping noise
To incipient manhood's mingled growl and squeak,
With two cag'd songsters of Canary's brood,
Both emulous to join their thrilling strains
All this might well provoke the gentlest mood,
And raise a tumult in the coolest brains.
" Why should you wish," continued he, " to roam,
In fancied pleasure's quest, the country round,
And leave the solid comforts of your home,
Where all that reason can desire is found ?
A TRIP TO SARATOGA.
'Tis not for health impair'd, or hearts depress'd,
Or spirits burden'd by a load of care :
Your minds require no tone- restoring rest,
Your bodies need no change of scene or air.
This lawn, these trees and shrubs, your senses cheer
When summer heats prevail, and close in view
A noble city rises ; so that here
You may enjoy the town and country too."
" Oh dear papa," cried Kate, the eldest child,
" Indeed, indeed, you are mistaken quite ;
We are sick to death of home, and almost wild
Of somewhat else on earth to get a sight.
How often on your accents have we hung
When of your youth's adventures you have told ;
And why should not we store our minds, while young,
With things of which to think and speak when old ?
Why should we dose at home, when all the world,
With former times compar'd, seems rous'd from sleep ;
In steamboats dashing, or in rail-cars hurl'd,
Or in swift vessels bounding o'er the deep ?
How would it make our snail-pac'd fathers stare
To see the rate at which we go j and soon,
18 A TRIP TO SARATOGA.
I trust, we shall ascend the fields of air,
And make our yearly visits to the moon "
" Yes, to the paradise of fools," cried he,
"This gadding generation's proper place.
I do protest it makes me mad to see
The restless rambling of the present race.
NOW, rough mechanics leave their work undone,
And, with pert milliners and prentice youth,
To some gay, throng'd resort away they run,
To cure dyspepsia or ennui, forsooth !
That idle, pamper'd wealth should gladly haste
To try the traveller's miseries, may be right :
The sickly palate needs some pungent taste
To cure the nausea that mere sweets excite.
Nor would I honor from the man withhold
Whom searching science bids to distant shores ;
Who, to extend her empire, constant, bold,
The works of Nature and of Art explores.
Much pleasure, too, there is in change of scene,
When streams glide smoothly, and the skies are bright ;
The towering mountains and the valleys green,
Impress the thoughtful mind with pure delight.
A TRIP TO SARATOGA. 19
But, that the highest pleasures which we know
In all these idle jaunts, I will maintain,
Is hope that lures us when at first we go,
And heartfelt joy at coming home again."
" Why dearest father, sure your reasoning's scope
But tends your very purpose to destroy ;
What happier life than one led on by hope,
And which, at last, concludes with heartfelt joy ?"
" Poh, poh, what nonsense ! " was the sole reply
That to this brisk retort her father made,
With half a smile, and twinkle of the eye
That spoke " You are a darling saucy jade."
When dear-lov'd daughters, for some trivial prize,
Against a widow 'd father's voice contend,
How fierce soe'er the strife may seem to rise,
All know in whose behalf it soon will end.
The promise worded in a doubtful guise,
" Well, well, soon as the season comes, we'll see"
Brought instant pleasure's lightning to their eyes,
And fill'd each bounding heart with hopeful glee.
*0 A TRIP TO SARATOGA.
At length, that all should go, it was agree'd ;
Though Henry knew full well the weighty charge
'T would be, on purse and patience both, to lead
Afar from home a troop so wild and large.
But all their pleasure would be turn'd to pain,
If one or more, selected from the rest,
Were doom'd, all sad and quiet, to remain,
While they with constant change and chance were blest.
For this was all they wish'd, nor did they care
[f they went North or South, or East or West ;
And gladly left their father to declare
Which course he deem'd the pleasantest and best.
soon, without a murmur, 'twas resolv'd
The noble Hudson's waters to ascend,
When vernal clouds and damps should be dissolv'd
And summer's balmy breath their voyage befriend.
Fair cloudless day-spring of our early youth !
How seem we then to think 'twill ne'er be night !
How ev'ry fancied form we take for truth !
How all the distance gleams with roseate light !
A TRIP TO SARATOGA.
Nor let foreboding Prudence sigh with pain
To see the dangers of youth's rash career,
Nor grieve that brightest hopes may beam in vain,
Soon to be quench'd in disappointment's tear.
In bounteous Nature's works we ever see
Apparent waste, and fruitless efforts find :
How many a blossom of the goodliest tree
Is idly scatter'd by the wanton wind !
And are these fruitless flowers abortive quite ?
Has Nature bid them bloom and fall in vain ?
No ; ere they perish, they impart delight ;
And plenteous fruits in embryo still remain.
If dearest hopes that fill the youthful mind,
And joys of fairest promise, end in gloom,
Yet still, successive hopes we ever find,
And other joys, upspringing in their room.
No, let not frigid age regard with scorn
The youthful spirit's warm outbreakings wild :
How many a hero to the world is born
Whose deeds are but the reckless darings of a child !
A TRIP TO SARATOGA
THE sun had reach'd, at length, his northern goal ;
Fierce wintry storms were chang'd to summer showers ;
Soft zephyrs through the rustling foliage stole ;
And dews of evening cheer'd the drooping flowers.
The day was fix'd on when they should depart j
And all their buoyant spirits were alive,
Like high-bred coursers straining on the start,
Distracted for the moment to arrive.
A TRIP TO SARATOGA.
All their equipments had the young folk made ;
And gather'd such a vast and varied store
As would suffice a merchant for his trade,
Or fit them all the world to travel o'er.
" Young travellers," said their father, "all are so:
Learn, learn, betimes, my children, to beware
Of grasping much, while through this world you go ;
You only gain embarrassment and care.
Believe me, 'twill require your keenest looks
To guard the smallest parcel you may need :
Then leave your extra wardrobes, and your books,
Scarce one of which you'll have the time to read."
Too happy were their spirits, to complain ;
And 'twas agreed that many a coat and vest
And well-fill'd trunk and basket should remain,
And ev'ry bandbox too, the traveller's pest.
To Charles, the eldest son, it was assign'd
To watch the baggage ; he wus strong and large ;
A.nd Kate, with all her rattling, sweet and kind,
Had little Sue and Meg beneath her charge.
A TRIP TO SARATOGA.
William and John were of that age when boys
Are rude in mind and awkward in their forms ;
When love of fun, of playful strife and noise,
Seems the one passion which their bosom warms.
The long expected day arriv'd at last.
The oppressive atmosphere was damp and warm.
The horison, in the West, was overcast.
The sky foretold an evening thunder storm.
Their father said the jaunt should be deferr'd
Until the storm was o'er and skies were clear ;
And, of his children's murmurs, not a word,
To swerve him from his purpose, would he hear :
He thought, in quest of pleasure, 'twas absurd
To rush on scenes of peril and of fear.
Not so to the youthful troop ; to them, delay
Of promis'd pleasure was a serious pain:
No threaten'd danger could have stopp'd their way
They look'd on distant trouble with disdain.
26 A TRIP TO SARATOGA.
But, long ere night, the boded storm growl'd hoarse ;
Still gathering rage, more threat'ning and more loud.
The southern breeze, that strove to stay its course,
To fury fann'd the dense and lurid cloud
" Down with the windows, run, here comes the gust,
Quick, quick, the wind has veer'd See ! what a
flash ! "
Scarce Henry spoke, when came the smothering dust,
A torrent next, and thunder, crash on crash :
No interval between the light and sound ;
So sharp and near was ev'ry awful stroke.
From cloud to cloud the echoes roll'd around,
And, far off, into angry murmurs broke.
Good Henry, with a look devoid of fear,
His children, from the walls and windows stay'd;
Yet taught them not to cower at danger near,
But gaze upon the lightning as it play'd.
'Tis well that violence soon spends its power ;
And well that we forget our fear and pain.
The storm that rag'd was but a summer-shower ;
And all, ere long, was peace and joy again.
A TRIP TO SARATOGA.
The birds sang out ; the setting sun was bright ;
The diamond rain-drops glitter'd on the green ;
The clouds were stain'd with gorgeous tints of light ;
A lofty rainbow crown'd the magic scene.
The morn succeeding shone forth heav'nly fair :
The western breeze was cool, but gently blew.
Some pearl-bright clouds sailed softly through the air,
And made more deep the deep cerulean hue.
None can describe the bustle, noise and rout,
The various sounds from ev'ry throat that pour'd,
Till fairly for the steamer they'd set out,
And, bag and baggage, all were safe aboard.
" We're off at length," exclaim'd the joyous band ;
For now the steamer ceas'd its hissing roar ;
The paddles slowly plash'd, on either hand,
To draw the vessel gently from the shore.
And now the steam breath'd out in greater force ;
The gallant boat was fairly under way ;
In majesty she shap'd her rapid course
Were ever folk so happy and so gay !
A TEIP TO SARATOGA.
Dense with a living mass the vessel teem'd ;
In search of pleasure, some, and some, of health ;
Maids who of love and matrimony dream'd,
And speculators keen, in haste for wealth ;
Old men smooth shorn ; lads with long beards and
Rich men ill clad, and poor ones smart and clean ;
True honest men, with looks and language gruff;
And rogues with speeches soft, and smiles between.
Some woman too would catch the ear and eye,
Striving, with might and main, her brat to quiet,
Who paid its mother's scolding lullaby
With kicks and jerks and still a louder riot.
The smiling maids, in flower-lin'd bonnets drest,
Seem'd, to the careless gaze, all fair alike :
No one, at first, was likely to arrest
The wand'ring eye, or transient view to strike.
So, clust'ring cherries on the tree appear,
At distance seen, all ripe, and plump, and sound ;
'Tis not till gather'd, and examin'd near,
That many a canker'd blemish may be found.
A TRIP TO SARATOGA
LONG, on the deck, the living chaos stirr'd,
Before each element could find its place ;
While unexpected greetings oft were heard,
And oft appear'd some unexpected face.
With much-ado, for Henry and his Kate
A place to seat themselves, at length, was found.
The rest, with wonder and with joy elate,
At ev'ry novel sight, came clust'ring round.
A TRIP TO SARATOGA.
Kate lov'd to gaze on earth, and wave, and sky
The woods, the river's rocky margin steep.
The boys lov'd best to watch the wild-fowl fly,
To see the fishes from the water leap.
Henry, on all within and all without,
Attentive look'd, and frequently, the while,
Some object to his children pointed out,
That might instruction give, or call a smile.
" See that plump- visag'd, snug and tidy wife,
Who keeps all right and tight, where'er she goes ;
The busy, bustling habit of whose life,
In ev'ry look, and word, and act, she shows.
These are the dames whose angry call
Makes servants tremble, and brave husbands laugh.
Let them alone ye witlings ; after all,
Nine out of ten, they are the better half"
" Do see," cried Charles, " that little swarthy man,
In long black boots, who holds his book so near
To his snub-nose ; help laughing if you can "
" Beware, my son, at strangers how you sneer,"
A TRIP TO SARATOGA.
Replied his father, " little do you dream
How bright a mind within that form resides.
The rough pearl-oyster, thus, would worthless seem
To one unsconcious of the gem it hides.
" Smile, if you will, at those two pallid youths,
Hard-by, in converse close, with heads together,
Grasping at shades of metaphysic truths,
Tn hopes to solve some knotty if or whether.
They come for health ; yet there they sit, by th' hour,
Discussing loud, from some dull schoolman's book,
What is or is not in th' Almighty's power ;
And, meanwhile, neither of them deigns to look
Upon th' Almighty's works which, all around,
With his own radiant impress ever shine ;
Where health of mind and body may be found,
And things to feed the soul with thoughts divine."
Somewhat retir'd there was another group
A mother with two children and her spouse.
They could not fail, in Henry and his troop,
Deep interest and compassion to arouse.
32 A TRIP TO SARATOGA.
She too for health was seeking ; beauteous, young ;
A hectic flush but rendered her more fair.
Her girls, unconscious, round their father hung,
Who strove, in vain, to hide his anxious air.
'Twas sad to see the silent tear-drop stain
Her lovely cheek, as on her girls she smil'd,
With mix'd emotions that confess'd how vain
She deem'd, at heart, the hope that oft beguil'd.
Scarce, Henry from his children could conceal
The long-quell'd anguish in his breast that rose ;
Or hide the tear that down his cheek would steal
At sight of what awoke his own past woes.
Yet still, he ceas'd not there to turn his eyes ;
Nor would he blot the mem'ry of the past.
Strange ! that our keenest pangs we seem to prize,
And dwell on early sorrows to the last !
It was relief to view a happier sight ;
A lovely infant in its mother's arms,
Recovering from disease whose threat'ning blight
Had rack'd her tender heart with dire alarms.
To watch each fav'ring sign, she sat intent,
A TRIP TO SARATOGA. 33
And joy'd to see the babe cheer up the while.
With heart too full to speak, her head she bent,
And gave the little creature smile for smile.
Kate would have given half her life, to snatch
The infant from its mother's fond embrace ;
Its outstretch'd hand \vithin her own to catch,
And print a thousand kisses on its face.
There was a towering manly-treading lass,
With long sharp nose and philosophic look ;
Her brain, of borrow'd thoughts a mingled mass,
Who valued nought that was not in a book.
Heav'n help the mortal doom'd by cruel fate
To bide the wordy torrent of her tongue !
This precious creature fasten'd on our Kate
All fearless of the woe that o'er her hung.
The pure unblemish'd native light that beam'd
From Kate's sweet face had caught this damsel's eyes ;
A subject, to her vanity, she seem'd,
Whom she might safely deign to patronize.
34 A TRIP TO SARATOGA.
When to the enchanting Highland scene they came,
One would have thought by book she knew it all ;
For ev'ry hill she found a classic name,
And recognis'd each rill and waterfall.
In long citations, such a peal was rung
As serv'd our helpless victim to astound.
She wish'd at heart that Scott had never sung,
Or that the Lady of the Lake were drown'd.
At length, when dinner's stirring summons rang,
To Kate, no music e'er had such a charm ;
No bird let loose more lightly ever sprang
Than she, to catch her father's ready arm.
Too clearly, by the tumult which ensued,
The innate selfishness of man was shown ;
Careless of other's comfort, each pursued,
With all his force, th' attainment of his own.
But, with our gentle Henry, 'twas not so :
Th' impatience of his children he withstood :
He said, their meal 'twere better to forego
Than show themselves both gluttonous and rude.
A TRIP TO SARATOGA. 35
While all seem'd mad with hunger and with thirst,
He mov'd with measur'd step and tranquil air :
The vacant place he took which offer'd first ;
Nor seem'd he, for himself, to have a care.
What is the real gentleman, but he
Who from the path of kindness never strays ?
Who truly is what he appears to be ?
And feels at heart the goodness he displays ?
The outside show of elegance and ease,
The mere result of study and of art,
Has pow'r, awhile, the eye and ear to please ;
But real worth alone can reach the heart.
The one, like empty sounds that swell and roll,
Conveys no clear sensation to the mind.
The other reaches to the inmost soul,
Like dulcet strains with touching words combin'd.
Soon as the comfortless repast was o'er,
They gladly left the cabin's breath confin'd,
And, mounting to the open deck, once more,
Inhal'd, with joy, the cool refreshing wind.
A TRIP TO SARATOGA.
Their spirits soon began more gay to rise ;
Toward all around they felt in social mood.
For, though blue-stockings may the thought despise,
J Tis sure the mind gains health from solid food.
But soon Kate saw that all her joy must end.
" Oh dear ! oh dear ! " thought she, " what shall I do ?
Here comes my everlasting learned friend
Well, well, Heav'n grant I ne'er may be a blue ! "
Ah no ! her ev'ry word and ev'ry look
Proclaim'd that no such fate she need to dread ;
Her thoughts and feelings, drawn from Nature's book,
Shed simple truth's pure light o'er all she said.
In vain she strives to shun the watchful gaze ;
Now clings more closely to her father's side ;
Now starts away to chase some child that strays ;
And now she seems to warn, and now to chide.
So full of anxious care her thoughts appear,
That interruption would be downright rude.
Yet still, my lady blue kept ever near ;
And still, like sportsman keen, her game pursued ;
A TRIP TO SARATOGA.
For Kate, who wish'd not ever to offend,
A list'ner of no common value prov'd.
But Henry could no more her steps attend ;
And, wearied, to a vacant seat he mov'd.
When by her father she had plac'd her chair,
And had the children safely station'd round,
Her kind protectress fail'd not to be there ;
And nasal measures soon began to sound.
As through this world we wend our weary way,
So intermingled are the good and ill,
That much is found our troubles to allay ;
This thought at least, they might le greater still.
Declaimers seldom for an answer wait ;
At most, but for a careless yes or no ;
Thus Heav'n is pleas'd, in mercy, to abate
What might have been the wretched list'ner's wo.
But Kate, in truth, unfeign'd attention paid ;
And scarce could she her merriment control,
While lurking smiles around her features play'd
And furtive glances toward her father stole.
Long did th' untiring speaker's voice resound
A TRIP TO SARATOGA.
With Southey's wonders and Montgomery's charms ;
Till, sudden, she beheld, on glancing round,
Her patient list'ner lock'd in Morpheus' arms.
The angel look of sweet unsconcious Kate
Proclaim'd how little dream'd she to offend,
Or change to bitter wrath and vengeful hate
The seeming friendship of a seeming friend.
Her father could have burst with glee outright,
To see the fury of the damsel's eyes ;
For, long since, to his keen experienc'd sight,
She was a smiling vixen in disguise.
Yet strove he, for his daughter, peace to make j
Pleaded the engine's ceaseless weary stroke ;
How early she was call'd, that morn, to wake ;
And of her youth and inexperience spoke.
This, to a lady of a certain age,
Appear'd a sly premeditated blow ;
Away she turn'd, with inward glowing rage,
And parted from her friends, a bitter foe.
A TRIP TO SARATOGA.
The morning mist that dims an op'ning rose
Imparts new beauty, ere it melts away.
And thus, our sleeper woke from soft repose
With features brighten'd and with looks more gay.
But keenest pleasure soon must loose its tone,
When that's the only end we have in view.
This, by our younger travellers was shown ;
Who now began to pant for somewhat new ;
To ask the distance they had still to go ;
At .what abode they were to pass the night ;
Their progress seem'd continually more slow ;
They wish'd that Albany would come in sight.
At length, the distant spires to view arise ;
And now the dreaded shoal awakes their fears.
The pilot, with firm hand and watchful eyes,
The vessel through the channel safely steers.
Fierce rose the strife, the tumult and the noise,
When first the steamer touch'd her destin'd shore.
40 A TRIP TO SARATOGA.
On rush'd the hack-men and the baggage-boys.
The safety-valve sent forth its angry roar.
In terror and amaze the girls they stand.
The boys, confounded, scarce know where to turn ;
Impetuous, they at once would rush to land ;
But, self-possession Henry bid them learn,
And not, by eagerness, increase the strife.
And, as he calmly stood, pronounc'd this rule
" In all the troublous passages of life,
Pray for a spirit patient, firm, and cool."
And now, beneath a skillful driver's care,
We leave our friends to wind their tortuous way,
And seek a night's refreshment, to repair
Their strength and spirits, for another day.
A TRIP TO SARATOGA
FROM sleep profound our young folk op'd their eyes,
When first the warning bell sent forth its peal ;
And for a moment gazed, with that surprise
Which, waking far from home, we're wont to feel.
Anon, they heard their father bid them rise,
And, quick, make ready for their morning meal.
That o'er, they sprang their journey to pursue ;
First casting round their rooms a parting look :
A TRIP TO SARATOGA.
For this last glance, if travellers tell what's true,
Saves many a straggling kerchief, cap, or book.
Now are the party on their way again,
Well stow'd, our Henry 'mid his sons and daughters,
And swiftly gliding in the railroad train
To Saratoga's fam'd health-giving waters.
Of all the joys that from our senses flow,
None are, perhaps, more exquisitely keen
Than those emotions which light spirits know
When entering first upon a rural scene.
The azure heav'n that calls our thoughts on high ;
The glorious light of summer shed around ;
The hills and vales that in the prospect lie ;
The cloud -form'd shadows flying o'er the ground ;
The cool untainted zephyr gently blowing ;
The shrubs and grass refresh'd by ev'ning showers ;
The sparkling streams along the valleys flowing ;
The trees wide spread, or cluster'd into bowers ;
While rapid motion, as the carriage flies,
Stirs up new life and spirit in the soul,
A TRIP TO SARATOGA.
Just as the mantling foam and bubbles rise
In generous wine that's dash'd into the bowl ;
These, and unnumber'd other pure delights
With which the varied charms of Nature shine,
Give to the heart an impulse that excites
A joy that seems to have a touch divine.
But pleasure, soon or late, is dash'd with pain ;
For mists will hide the landscape from the eye ;
The clearest skies will gather clouds and rain ;
Cool winds will heated grow, and dust will fly.
Some of those pleasures, and these troubles too,
While on their way, our younger party felt.
The day wax'd warm ; they all impatient grew ;
No more on rural scenes their fancies dwelt ;
They long'd from crowded durance to get free,
And stretch at ease their cramp'd up limbs, once more ;
And though, at first, nought could exceed their glee,
At length, they fairly wish'd their journey o'er.
A TRIP TO SARATOGA.
On, on, the engine, puffing, panting, went ;
Impatient, as it seem'd, the goal to reach ;
And, ever and anon, afar it sent
Its warning voice, with fearful goblin screech.
Away, as from a monster's jaws outspread,
Th' astonish'd beasts o'er hill and valley bound,
With eyes wild gleaming, from unwonted dread,
And, head and ears erect, they gaze around.
At length, their father bid his children cheer ;
For, at the rate they then were hurl'd along,
Their durance soon should end, as they were near
To Saratoga's idly busy throng.
Soon as arriv'd, like vultures on their prey,
The keen attendants on the baggage fell ;
And trunks and bags were quickly caught away,
And in the destin'd dwelling thrown pell-mell.
Then names were register'd, and rooms were shown,
And, for the dinner dress, arrangements made :
And, ere another rapid hour had flown,
By joyous hearts the summons was obey'd.
A TRIP TO SARATOGA. 45
Life pass'd without some purpose kept in view
Were worse than death. The lonely pris'ner craves
Some painful task or labor to pursue ;
And, for relief, the fiercest danger braves.
How then could sons of pleasure chase away
From these gay scenes the horrors of ennui,
But for the three great epochs of the day,
The happy hours of Breakfast Dinner Tea ?
All then inhale fresh spirits and new life ;
E'en churls look pleasant ; wealth forgets its pride ;
The fiercest disputants forego their strife ;
Segars and Politics are thrown aside.
Yet, when we have no higher end and aim
Than pleasure, for the moment, as it flies,
It soon gives way to feelings cold and tame,
And, while we grasp it, languishes and dies.
One who pursues the same unvarying round
Of dinners, concerts, billiards, drives and dances,
Is like a squirrel cag'd, who, though he bound,
And whirl about his wheel, yet ne'er advances.
46 A TRIP TO SARATOGA.
In all his children's pastimes Henry shar'd ;
For, to repress young spirits, he thought wrong ;
But, little, in his very heart, he car'd
For what engag'd the pleasure-hunting throng.
And o'er the young folk too the thought would steal,
That e'en to waltz at night, at noon to roam,
To drink the waters, taste the hurried meal,
Were not the the pure delights of their dear home.
The sounds of strife or wassail, in the night,
Or of departing guests, at dawn of day,
Would fill the boys with wrath, the girls with fright ;
And ofttimes chase their rest and sleep away.
At meals, some noisy pack their peace would mar ;
Who deem'd it to gentility a stain,
Though half-seas-o'er with brandy at the bar,
To call for other bev'rage than champaign.
But swift, away, away, the hours they flew ;
Those winged hours that go so strangely fast
When unaccustom'd objects meet the view ;
Yet seem of such unwonted length, when past.
A TRIP TO SARATOGA. 47
When favoring skies and sunbeams cheer'd the day,
The mansion's inmates scatter'd far and wide,
The lakes to view, or in the fields to stray,
To hunt, to fish, to visit, drive, or ride.
Our party made the usual tour of jaunts.
They climb'd the hills, to view the vales below.
They sought for rude uncultivated haunts ;
Or stray'd among the woods where wild flowers grow.
The wonted casualties that travellers meet
Would cause perplexity, or fears excite ;
A drunken driver tottering in his seat ;
A sudden break-down, or way lost at night.
But when they came back safe and well at last,
And, after toil, enjoy'd refreshing rest,
They felt that all the troubles they had past
Gave to their pleasures still a keener zest.
'Twere wearisome of all the scenes to tell
That caus'd enraptur'd feelings to awake.
But we may venture, for a while, to dwell
Upon the beauties of that lovely lake
A TRIP TO SARATOGA.
Whose pure wave drinks so deep heav'n's holy light,
It seems a sacred character to claim ;
And from religion's sacramental rite,
In days now long gone by, deriv'd its name. *
It seems call'd forth by magic to the eye,
With countless verdant islets scatter'd o'er ;
Its hills contrasting with the' azure sky,
And rising all romantic from the shore.
While speechless pleasure in their faces beam'd,
Kate and her sisters, from the winged boat,
Would in the crystal dip their hands, that seem'd
Like water-lilies on the wave to float.
When pelting rain or tempest threat'ning round
Enforc'd th' unwilling guests at home to stay,
They sought whate'er expedients could be found
To cheat the time and haste the weary day.
Recourse was had to writing or to books ;
To walking, lounging, singing, whistling, humming ;
To billiards and backgammon, rings and hooks ;
On hoarse pianos to incessant thrumming.
* Lake George was, by the French, called Le Lac du Sant Sacrement.
A TRIP TO SARATOGA. 49
On such a day as this, a lively lass
Was playing songs and waltzes, and odd ends
Of fav'rite melodies, the time to pass,
Surrounded by a knot of sportive friends.
While playful mischief lurk'd in ev'ry eye,
With many a laugh or titter half supprest,
They slyly watch'd the figures passing by,
And look'd and whisper'd many a merry jest.
A stranger, of a quiet modest air,
Walked slowly round, or at a distance sat.
For him, no more did our gay party care
Than for a purring, chimney-corner cat.
Amid the medley, suddenly his ear
Perceiv'd, the notes of an uncommon strain.
He rose, and quietly approaching near,
Petition'd gently for the air again.
The player, courteously the strain renew'd,
Which she, from foreign voice, had learn'd by rote.
He, as she play'd it o'er, the theme pursued,
And prick'd it in his tablets, note for note ;
A TRIP TO SARATOGA.
Then, at the instrument he took his seat,
And play'd the melody with graceful turn,
And taste so pure, and harmony so sweet,
As made th' astonish'd nymphs with blushes burn.
Charm'd by the pow'r of music's touching art,
With looks how chang'd the stranger now they view !
And him it well behoov'd to guard his heart,
Lest mischief-loving eyes should pierce it through.
They're of a compound strange, these fair young
Though made up, as 'twould seem, of fun and mirth,
And apes of fickle fashion's wildest features,
They can excel, when tried, in moral strength and
They're like the plaything children call a Witch ;
Made of a weight attach'd to somewhat light.
Howe'er you twist or twirl it, toss or twitch,
It has a saving power that brings it right.
A TRIP TO SARATOGA
'TwAS pleasant, in the ev'nings, to behold
The motley groups with which the mansion teem'd,
Of various nations form'd, both young and old,
That like to living panoramas seem'd ;
To view the waltzers whirling, two and two,
With foot and heart both lighter than a feather ;
While glancing dames watch'd, who and who,
In graceful coil, had wound themselves together.
52 A TRIP TO SARATOGA.
There might be seen the planter from the South,
With touch of fire, but open, debonair ;
The merchant from the East, with firm-set mouth,
And dark inquiring eye, and look of care.
Gay Frenchmen too, in social pastimes skill'd,
With manners polish'd, and with lively faces ;
Young Englishmen, in Greek and Latin drill 'd,
More favor'd by the Muses than the Graces.
Italian counts and Spanish dons, all cold,
Sedate and grave ; but let them rouse with ire,
Like snow-clad mountains,' they'll be found to hold
The elements that feed volcanic fire.
And well-bred Germans too, of whom some say
They are a heavy, dull, Boeotian race ;
But, if the truth were told, as Frenchmen gay,
To solid lore, they join a Frenchman's grace.
And, now and then, might fall upon the ear
The voice of some conceited vulgar cit,
Who, while he would the well-bred man appear,
Mistakes low pleasantry for genuine wit.
Men of deep learning, or of sterling worth,
Were in the crowd conceal'd and to be sought ;
A TRIP TO SARATOGA.
Just as the finer metals, deep in earth
Are mostly found, ere to the view they're brought.
Perchance some careless genius might be told
By flashes he unconscious threw around,
That seem'd like grains of sparkling virgin gold
Strewn by the hand of Nature o'er the ground.
Some tranquil minds were made to shine by dint
Of fools' attacks, that waken'd gen'rous ire ;
As steel elicits from the stricken flint
The sudden brilliance of its secret fire.
Fierce party-politicians too there were,
Who all their foes in Satan's colors paint ;
Those very foes who, when time serves, they'll swear
To be, each one, as pure as any saint.
Some few, who would philosophers be deem'd,
At what is sacred aim'd their heartless wit ;
Whose wanton sallies, to the pious, seem'd
The pale cold light which putrid things emit.
From such, our Henry never turn'd aside,
When aught they said was to his ear address'd j
A. TRIP TO SARATOGA.
But, by superior lore, abased their pride ;
Or, by his keen reproof, their levity repress'd.
He made them know and feel that, in his eyes,
The humblest pauper who could hope and pray,
With heart sincere, above this state to rise,
Was of a higher, nobler caste than they.
Some damsels, even when they did not quote,
Were heard to choose their phrases with such care,
That all seem'd like a book well learn'd by rote.
Henry enjoin'd his children to beware
Of seeking words and phrases grand and fine ;
And said, in language, ornament misplac'd,
Just as in dress, was wont to be a sign
Of badly tutor'd mind and vulgar taste.
There were some dainty dames of minds so pure,
Of sense so exquisite, and ears so chaste,
That all around them, soon or late, were sure,
By some unlucky word to be disgrac'd.
If e'er Kate chanc'd to mention leg or knee,
All seem'd with wounded modesty to glow.
A TRIP TO SARATOGA. 55
Yet, in the midst of wildest mirth and glee,
Kate's mind was purer than the mountain snow.
And, while cold scornful smiles were seen around,
Henry would whisper, she had spoken well ;
And that true modesty was ever found
Between the prudish and the gross to dwell.
Dandies were lounging seen in the saloon,
With ev'ry item of their dress arrang'd
By rule ; and, ev'ry morn, and night, and noon,
That dress, to suit the time of day, was chang'd.
These exquisites might fancy to unbend
So far, as with some belle a waltz to walk ;
But, should they to an humbler dance descend,
Would like the statue in Don Juan stalk.
For why should they their toilet jeopardize ?
Uncurl a whisker, rumple a cravat,
Disturb a curl that on fair forehead lies ?
What dire misfortue could be worse than that ?
Fair forms, as light as sylphs of noiseless tread,
Imparted life and radiance to the scene;
A TRIP TO SARATOGA.
Like brilliant flowerets o'er the meadow spread,
Or ev'ning fire-flies twinkling on the green.
But, though complexions might be found more fair,
Maidens more fit to shine at rout or ball,
And who'd be call'd of more distinguish' d air,
Our Kate was still the loveliest of them all.
Hers was so archly innocent a look,
Such pensiveness with gaiety combin'd,
As show'd a nature that at once partook
Of ev'ry various quality of mind.
When aught of pity mov'd her gentle heart,
There was a light, that seem'd not of this earth,
Beam'd from her eyes, and fail'd not to impart
To all she said or did a tenfold worth.
She, with her brother Charles, one sultry eve,
To seek refreshing breezes, chanc'd to stray.
A wand'ring pauper pray'd them to relieve
His want ; nor turn'd they from his prayer away.
They both were mov'd, for he was old and maim'd.
He thank'd our Charles ; but such the angel grace
With which Kate gave her alms, that he exclaim'd
" May God Almighty bless your kind sweet face ! "
A TRIP TO SARATOGA
BUT now autumnal airs began to blow ;
At morn and eve, the atmosphere was cold ;
The hours no longer seem'd on wings to go ;
The pleasures most approv'd grew stale and old.
Home ! home ! whose very name has magic power,
Became, each moment, dearer to each heart.
Of all their life, 'twould be the happiest hour,
When for that home they should again depart.
A TRIP TO SARATOGA.
At length, quite wearied with the course they'd run,
It was arrang'd, if naught the plan should mar,
For all to rise before the morrow's sun,
And make them ready for the homeward car.
Bright roseate hues adorn'd the eastern skies
As Sol lit up the morn without a cloud.
Sleep quickly vanish'd from our party's eyes ;
The gathering bustle rose more strong and loud ;
For now toward home they soon should be away.
Each hand and tongue was busy as a bee ;
And, ere the ev'ning of another day,
They hop'd their wish'd-for home again to see.
'Twas one of these autumal days that shine,
Full oft, so glorious, on our favor'd land ;
When th' heavens and all the elements combine
To render Nature beautiful and bland.
There breath'd around a heav'nly influence
Creation look'd so smiling and so blest,
That sorrow's keenest pangs grew less intense,
And heaviest care with lighter burden prest.
A TRIP TO SARATOGA. 59
All objects shone so lucid and so clear,
So sharp each outline on the deep-blue sky,
That what was distant seem'd to draw more near,
And ev'ry tint came radiant to the eye.
The foliage had exchang'd its summer green
For all the varied hues by Autumn shed.
No rustling breeze disturb'd the tranquil scene
That seem'd a picture to the view outspread.
If e'er we mortals feel unmingled bliss,
While through this world of care we roam,
'Tis in the hour, when, on a day like this,
We speed us, after absence long, for home.
Away they flew, those cars that seem design'd
With birds of swiftest strongest wing to race ;
And, as no more by former laws confin'd,
Seem, while they go, to mock at time and space.
With such delight our party's minds were fraught,
To think that homeward they were hurl'd again ;
Such pleasure 'twas to dwell upon the thought,
They almost wish'd the motion to restrain.
A TRIP TO SARATOGA.
Just as we see a child delay to taste
Some ripe and tempting fruit 'tis wont to prize ;
Nor will it to the dainty pleasure haste ;
But still puts off the feast, and fondly eyes.
To fam'd Albania's dullness and its dust
We leave our party for another night,
The hours to sleep away, in hope and trust,
At home, next day, to find all well and right.
No need there was, at morn, for bell to chime,
Nor for the voice of Henry's early call.
They were afoot long ere the wonted time ;
Their things were pack'd, and they were ready all,
Ere long, our Henry, with his girls and boys
Were on the steamer's deck ; and one day more
Of pleasure, mix'd with bustle, heat and noise,
Brought back the travellers safely to their door,
And then it was a goodly sight, to see
The servants, old and young, all rushing out
A TRIP TO SARATOGA.
Their faces beaming with such heart-felt glee !
And ev'ry tongue in motion ! Such a rout !
The watch-dog jumping with outrageous joy,
His paws outstretch'd upon his master's neck ;
Who had his utmost vigor to employ,
The creature's loving violence to check.
The favorite lap-dog leapt around the girls,
And would be seen and heard amid the throng :
He wagg'd his tail, and shook his silken curls,
And downright scolded that they staid so long.
And Csesar bustled round, with mouth agrin ;
A faithful heart his homely form beneath,
Distinguish'd from the rest by ebon skin
In shining contrast with his snow-white teeth.
Amid their joy, the young-folk felt surprise
That when they tried to speak, their lips were dumb.
Soft silent tears came gushing to their eyes ;
With pleasing pain their hearts were overcome.
When all were hous'd, and things arrang'd, at last,
And when they felt they were at home once more :
A TRIP TO SARATOGA.
When they had risen from their light repast ;
And when their ev'ning orisons were o'er ;
Then, ere retiring to their welcome rest,
Kate to her father's cheek approach'd her lip,
And ask'd him, as he held her to his breast,
" Now, father, was it such a foolish trip ? "
" No," said our Henry, " not, if you're return'd
With health robust, and love of home renew'd ;
If to appreciate true worth you've learn'd,
And with due scorn have worthless folly view'd ;
If Nature's works have tended to inspire,
For what is beautiful and pure, a keener love ;
If, at their view, you felt a holy fire
Enwrap your heart, and call your thoughts above.
But, if this be the first step to the moon,
For which you seem'd so eager, in the Spring ;
If, henceforth, we're to sail in a balloon,
Or other craft of new-invented wing ;
If this, your first excursion do but tend
To render you unquiet, prone to roam,
A TRIP TO SARATOGA.
To make your peace on what's abroad depend,
'Twere better far you ne'er had left your home.
And now, my darling rogue, to bed away,
Still to this sublunary state resign'd ;
And, whereso'er your lot, forever pray
That Heav'n may grant you a contented mind."
TO MY CHILDREN,
AFTER HAVING MY PORTRAIT TAKEN FOR THEM.
THIS semblance of your parent's time-worn face
Is but a sad bequest, my children dear !
Its youth and freshness gone, and in their place
The lines of care, the track of many a tear !
Amid life's wreck, we struggle to secure
Some floating fragment from oblivion's wave :
We pant for somewhat that may still endure,
And snatch at least a shadow from the grave.*
Poor, weak, and transient mortals ! why so vain
Of manly vigor or of beauty's bloom?
An empty shade for ages may remain
When we have moulder'd in the silent tomb.
But no ! it is not we who moulder there ;
We, of essential light that ever burns,
We take our way through untried fields of air,
When to the earth this earth-born frame returns.
And 'tis the glory of the master's art
Some radiance of this inward light to find ;
Some touch that to his canvass may impart
A breath, a sparkle of the immortal mind.
Alas ! the pencil's noblest power can show
But some faint shadow of a transient thought,
Some waken'd feeling's momentary glow,
Some swift impression in its passage caught.
Oh ! that the artist's pencil could portray
A father's inward bosom to your eyes ;
TO MY CHILDREN.
What hopes, and fears, and doubts perplex his way,
What aspirations for your welfare rise.
Then might this unsubstantial image prove,
When I am gone, a guardian of your youth,
A friend for ever urging you to move
In paths of honor, holiness, and truth.
Let fond imagination's power supply
The void that baffles all the painter's art ;
And when those mimic features meet your eye,
Then fancy that they speak a parent's heart.
Think that you still can trace within those eyes
The kindling of affection's fervid beam,
The searching glance that every fault espies,
The fond anticipation's pleasing dream.
Fancy those lips still utter sounds of praise,
Or kind reproof that checks each wayward will,
The warning voice, or precepts that may raise
Your thoughts above this treach'rous world of ill.
And thus shall Art attain her loftiest power ;
To noblest purpose shall her efforts tend :
Not the companion of an idle hour,
But Virtue's handmaid and Religion's friend.
ADDRESSED, MANY YEARS AGO, TO THE FASHIONABLE PART OF MY
YOUNG COUNTRYWOMEN ; AND HAPPY AM I TO SAY, NOW
NO LONGER APPLICABLE TO THEM.
YE blooming nymphs, our country's joy and pride,
Who in the stream of fashion thoughtless glide ;
No modish lay, no melting strain of love
Is here pour'd forth, your tender hearts to move.
Yet think not envious age inspires the song,
Rejecting all our earth-born joys as wrong.
Think me no matron stern who would repress
Each modern grace, each harmless change of dress ;
But one whose heart exults to join the band
Where joy and innocence go hand in hand ;
One who, while modesty maintains her place,
That sacred charm which heightens every grace,
Complacent, sees your robes excel the snow,
Or borrow colors from the aerial bow.
But in those half- rob'd bosoms are there hid
No thoughts which shame and purity forbid ?
Why do those fine-wrought veils around you play,
Like mists which scarce bedim the orb of day ?
What mean those careless limbs, that conscious air,
At which the modest blush, the vulgar stare ?
Can spotless minds endure the guilty leer,
The sober matron's frown, the witling's sneer ?
Are these the charms which, in this age refin'd,
Ensure applause, and captivate the mind ?
Are these your boasted powers ; are these the arts
Which kindle love, and chain inconstant hearts ?
Alas ! some angry power, some demon's skill
Hath wrought this strange perversity of will ;
TO MY YOUNG COUNTRYWOMEN. 71
For sure some foe to innocence beguiles,
When harmless doves attempt the serpent's wiles.
True, Fashion's laws her ready votaries screen,
And ogling beaux exclaim, Oh Goddess ! Queen !
But, vile the praise and adoration sought
By arts degrading to each nobler thought !
A base-born love those notes of praise inspires ;
That incense rises from unhallowed fires.
If deaf while shame and purity complain,
If reason's gentle voice be rais'd in vain,
Learn from the scented nosegay in your hand
The charms that can alone true love command.
The flaunting tulip you reject with scorn,
Though ting'd with all the hues that deck the morn ;
And, careful, search for humbler flowers which bloom
Beneath the grass, yet scatter sweet perfume.
The buds which only half their sweets disclose
You fondly seize, but leave the full-blown rose.
Humble the praise, and trifling the regard
Which ever wait upon the moral bard !
72 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.
But there remains a hateful truth unsung
Which burns the cheek, and faulters on the tongue ;
And which, if modesty still hover round,
Each virgin breast with sorrow must confound.
" Those graceful modes," thus say your flattering beaux,
" From ancient times and tastes refin'd arose."
Disgrace not thus the names of Greece and Rome,
Their birth-place must be sought for nearer home.
Shame ! shame ! heart-rending thought ! deep-sinking
That Britain's and Columbia's Fair should deign,
Nay strive, their native beauties to enhance
By arts first taught by prostitutes of France ! *
O Modesty and Innocence ! sweet pair
Of dove-like sisters ! still attend our Fair.
Teach them, without your heav'nly influence,
How vain the charms of beauty or of sense.
* Dr. Barrow in his Treatise on Education, vol. 2, p. 305, says : " Our young
women are probably little aware that the fashionable nakedness of the pre
sent day was first adopted in this country, in imitation of the revolutionary
prostitutes of France."
TO MY YOUNG COUNTRYWOMEN. 73
Invest them with your radiance mild, yet bright ;
And give their sparkling eyes a softer light.
Quick-mantling dimples on their cheeks bestow ;
And teach them with a purer red to glow ;
Let winning smiles too round those dimples gleam,
Like moon-beams on the ruffled stream.
And if resentment on the Muse attend
From those she loves, and truly would befriend,
Tell them, that cruel and unjust their ire ;
That she would warm their hearts with holy fire ;
And to the charms that soon must pass away
Would add those mental beauties which shall ne'er
THE MISCHIEVOUS MUSE.
TRANSLATED FROM THE ITALIAN OF SIONOR DA PONTE WRITTEN BY
HIM TO BE RECITED AT ONE OF HIS CONVERSAZIONI, WHICH
WERE ATTENDED BY HIS PUPILS.
BRIGHT God of harmony, whose voice
Inspires the tuneful Nine,
Oh, grant me now thy golden lyre ;
And teach a strain like thine !
And come, sweet Heliconian Maids,
With mine your notes to blend :
The gay Terpsichore* alone
I ask not to descend.
* The Muse who presides over dancing.
THE MISCHIEVOUS MUSE. 75
To her I've sworn eternal hate ;
My soul indignant views
The wrongs by her to Pallas done,
And every sister Muse.
Deep shrouded in her gloomy clouds,
Black Night of her complains,
That many a dream within its grot
An idler now remains.
Enamour'd of the airy skill
This frolic Muse displays
When call'd by fashion's friendly voice
To guide the sportive maze,
A thousand nymphs of loveliest bloom,
Fair Hebe's joy and pride,
Reject me from their blithsome hearts,
And all my pangs deride.
What aspirations from this breast
Their charms have caus'd to rise !
76 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.
But, ah! the winds dispers'd each pray'r
Before it reach'd the skies.
The lyre Apollo kindly gave
I find avail me naught ;
Each tawny scraper's notes surpass
The strains by Phoebus taught.
How oft my swelling voice in vain
Has pour'd th' unheeded song,
While gay gavotte or dizzy waltz
CalPd off the ready throng.
In vain I've bid each thoughtless nymph
Consult her mirror true ;
And, ere too late, the dire effects
Of ceaseless balls to view.
In vain I've mark'd the languid beam,
That lights her sleepless eye,
And loudly mourn'd the faded cheek,
Where new blown roses die.
THE MISCHIEVOUS MUSE.
In vain I've tried these various arts,
And bid the numbers flow ;
I've learnt, 'tis folly to resist
A fiddler's magic bow.
Would that Apollo made thee leave
The pure Castalian choir ;
Or bound thee with a golden string
From off thy useless lyre !
Learn, bold intruder, to the feet
Thy empire is confm'd ;
Leave, then, some more exalted power
To sway the human mind.
But whither is my ardent soul
In fury wrapt away ?
Pardon, ye fair, who court this Muse,
And love her frolick sway.
Already from the nymphs I hear
The low-voic'd murmurs rise ;
I see the frowns that shade their brows
The lightning of their eyes,
And looks, that thousand dire alarms
Within my breast create ;
Lest I, like Orpheus, should be torn,
Or meet Absyrtus' fate.
Ah, smooth those brows so fiercely knit !
Fair vot'ries of the dance ;
And let a beaming smile of peace
Adorn each lovely glance.
Now let those fallen cheeks, so pale,
Resume their native red ;
No more let peace and joy be chas'd
By words in frolick said.
And hark, your willing ears may catch
The distant prelude's sound ;
I see the Goddess you adore descend,
To lead the festive round.
THE MISCHIEVOUS MUSE. 79
Now, from your seats, all spring alert,
'Twere folly to delay,
In well-assorted pairs unite,
And nimbly trip away.
WRITTEN AFTER A SNOW-STORM.
COME children dear, and look around ;
Behold how soft and light
The silent snow has clad the ground
In robes of purest white.
The trees seem deck'd by fairy hand,
Nor need their native green ;
And every breeze appears to stand,
All hush'd, to view the scene.
WRITTEN AFTER A SNOW-STORM.
You wonder how the snows were made
That dance upon the air,
As if from purer worlds they stray'd,
So lightly and so fair.
Perhaps they are the summer flowers
In northern stars that bloom,
Wafted away from icy bowers
To cheer our winter's gloom.
Perhaps they're feathers of a race
Of birds that live away,
In some cold dreary wintry place,
Far from the sun's warm ray.
And clouds, perhaps, are downy beds
On which the winds repose ;
Who, when they rouse their slumb'ring heads,
Shake down the feath'ry snows.
But see, my darlings, while we stay
And gaze with fond delight,
The fairy scene soon fades away,
And mocks our raptur'd sight.
And let this fleeting vision teach
A truth you soon must know
That all the joys we here can reach
Are transient as the snow.
ADDRESSED TO THE YOUNG LADIES WHO ATTENDED MR. CHILTON S
LECTURES IN NATURAL PHILOSOPHY, ANNO 1804-5.
THE beasts who roam o'er Libya's desert plain
Have gentler hearts than men who dare maintain
That woman, lovely woman, hath no soul.
They too seem drench'd in Circe's pois'nous bowl
Who grant, the Fair may have a soul to save,
But deem each female born an abject slave.
Give me a maiden of unfetter'd mind,
By thought and knowledge strengthen 'd and refin'd !
84 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.
A gift like this more precious would I hold
Than India's gems, or Afric's purest gold.
Ye maids, whose vows to science are address' d,
If thus your minds be fashion'd, thus impress'd,
With joy your course pursue ; nor heed, the while,
Envy's malignant grin, nor Folly's smile.
Trace Nature's laws ; explore the starry maze ;
Learn why the lightnings flash, the meteors blaze.
From earth to heav'n your view, inquiring, dart ;
And see how order reigns in every part.
'Tis sweet, 'tis wholesome to frequent this school
Where all is beauty and unerring rule.
But strain'd research becomes not well the fair ;
Deep thought imparts a melancholy air ;
The sparkling eye grows dim, the roses fade,
When long obscur'd beneath a studious shade.
Suffice it for a tender nymph to stray
Where strength and industry have clear'd the way ;
To cull the fruits and flowers which bless the toil
Endur'd by Newton, Verulam and Boyle.
Yet all possess not senses to enjoy
These flowers so fair, these fruits which never cloy.
There runs through all things which our powers can
A golden thread which links the most remote.
There is a kindred feature to be trac'd
In things most opposite, most widely plac'd.
In matter, thus, resemblance may be found
To soaring mind, whose movements own no bound.
For, as a fluid vainly strives to save
A heavier mass from sinking in its wave,
So, in the mind made up of trifles light,
All weighty truths, o'erwhelm'd sink out of sight !
A while, perchance, it may endure to feel
A sober thought's dread weight, as polish'd steel,
Dropp'd gently on the water's face, seems loth
To sink ; but 'tis repulsion holds them both.
Fair science, how thy modest cheeks would glow,
If dragg'd to view in fashion's puppet-show !
Midst fops and feathers, sighs and painted cheeks,
Soft maiden blushes, and strange maiden freaks ;
Midst sickening pleasures, wearisome delights,
Days doom'd to listlessness, and sleepless nights.
Ill would'st thou fare amidst this gaudy train,
Where all is treach'rous, transitory, vain !
No, no, the fair who pant for joys like these
Not wisdom's richest stores of wealth could please.
Let Heaven and Earth, for them, be rul'd by chance
No laws they heed but those which rule the dance.
Their eyes, fast fix'd on earth, ne'er love to roam
O'er all the splendor of the starry dome,
For them no stars e'er shone, since time began,
With half the glories of a spangled fan.
To you, ye Nymphs, inspirers of my song,
No features here portrayed, I trust, belong.
But should I see a girl at knowledge aim
Because philosophy's a handsome name ;
Or who would learn because the fashion's so,
And beckon science as she would a beau,
This truth the trifler from my lips should know,
" When Nature shall forget her 'stablish'd laws,
And chance take place of an omniscient cause ;
MR. CHILTON'S LECTURES. 87
When every creature some strange powers shall know,
That swims in air, or treads the earth below ;
When bees, forgetful of their wonted skill,
Shall idly flaunt, while butterflies distill
The liquid sweets, and build the curious cell,
Then may true wisdom grace a fluttering Belle.
ON SEEING MY NAME WRITTEN BY A YOUNG LADY IN THE SAND OF
THIS name here drawn by Flora's hand
Portrays, alas ! her mind :
The beating surf and yielding sand
Soon leave no trace behind.
But Flora's name shall still abide
In many a bosom trac'd,
Not e'en by time's destroying tide
Nor fortune's storms effac'd.
COW r FER Er
ON COWPER THE POET, WRITTEN AFTER READING THE LIFE OF HIM
SWEET melancholy Bard ! whose piercing thought
Found humblest themes with pure instruction fraught ;
How hard for mortal sight to trace the ways
Of Heav'n throughout thy life's mysterious maze !
Why was it order'd that thy gentle mind,
Which fancy fiVd and piety refin'd,
Should in this guilty world be forc'd to dwell,
Like some base culprit in his gloomy cell,
90 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.
Rous'd from its due repose by feverish dreams,
By goblin forms, by din of fancied screams ?
Why was that fertile genius waste and chill'd ?
By wintry blasts its opening blossoms kill'd ?
A soil where Yemen's spicy buds might blow,
And Persia's rose a purer fragrance know !
Why bloom'd so late those sweet poetic flowers,
Bless'd by no summer suns, no vernal showers,
Which in the autumn of thy days were rear'd
By friendship's dew, by fickle zephyrs cheer'd ?
I hear a distant Seraph bid me " Hold,
Nor tempt high Heav'n by such inquiries bold.
Weak-sighted mortal ! canst thou not discern
What from unaided reason thou might'st learn ?
Had fortune's sunbeams cheer'd his early days,
Amidst the soft favonian breath of praise,
Those fruitful virtues which sprang up so fair,
Those blossoms breathing odors on the air,
By weeds of pride and vanity o'ergrown,
Unheeded might have bloom'd, and died unknown.
LINES ON COWPER. 91
Presumptuous mortal 'twould become thee well
On this thy fellow mortal's life to dwell ;
For in his breast, when rack'd by fiercest woes,
To question Heav'n, no daring thought e'er rose.
His actions vice and folly view with shame ;
His precepts foul-mouth'd envy dares not blame ;
His well-lov'd image still calls many a tear ;
His cherish'd name all ages shall revere."
SUGGESTED BY GOLDSMITH'S STANZAS WHICH BEGIN, " SAY CRUEL
IRIS, PRETTY RAKE."
THY charms, Petrosa, which inspire
Unnumber'd swains to chant thy praise,
Bid me too join the tuneful choir,
My faint and timorous voice to raise.
And though more lofty songs invite,
Regard for once, an humble swain :
The warbling thrush can oft delight
More than the skylark's louder strain.
TO PETROSA. 93
Thy heavenly form, thy virtues too,
In notes of praise ascend the skies.
To opening charms, that strike the view,
Unceasing aspirations rise.
But midst these charms, by all confess'd,
One fault thy hopeless swains declare ;
A heart there dwells within that breast,
Which knows no love, which heeds no prayer.
Despondent sighs, and notes of pain
Delight, they say, Petrosa's ear :
To sue for pity, were as vain
As from the rocks to ask a tear.
Oh senseless throng ! that callous breast
Proclaims her nature's favor'd child :
While others pine, with love oppress'd,
Her thoughts are free, her slumbers mild.
And all that softness which gives grace
And honor to the female heart,
94 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.
Though distant from its wonted place,
She harbors in a nobler part ;
For, though that heart to every sound
Which would compassion move be dull,
The softness which should there be found
Kind Nature granted to her skull.
TRANSLATION OF METASTASIO'S ODE TO NICE
THE NAME ELLEN BEING SUBSTITUTED FOR NICE.
THANKS ! Ellen, to thy treach'rous wiles !
Once more, the air I freely draw :
Thanks to the Gods ! who, pitying, saw
A wretched captive's pain.
And 'tis not fancy that beguiles
With fleeting dreams my tranquil heart ;
Unfetter'd, now, I lightly start,
Indignant, from thy chain.
No longer glows my wonted flame.
I've found, so sure, the rest I sought,
That love can find no angry thought
Where hidden he may dwell.
No more, at mention of thy name,
I feel the burning blushes rise.
Now, when I meet thy brilliant eyes,
No throbs my bosom swell.
In nightly dreams that round me play
No more thy features I discern.
When morn arrives, no more return
My earliest thoughts to thee.
From thee afar full oft I stray ;
Nor of thy absence e'er complain
To thee return'd, I still remain
From all emotion free.
No more, while musing on thy charms,
In tender ecstacy I melt.
Not all the wrongs this heart has felt
One vengeful thought can raise.
ODE TO NICE.
No more I feel those fond alarms
That thrill'd me when my love drew near
My rival's self, unmov'd, I hear
Exulting in thy praise.
Let cold disdain o'ershade thy Brow,
Or sweet complacency adorn ;
Indifferent, I behold thy scorn ;
Unmov'd, I see thee smile.
Lost is the wonted empire now
That once those lips, those eyes possess'd,
Which knew so well to rule this breast,
And every sense beguile.
If gathering clouds my mind oppress,
Or laughing joys my soul uplift ;
No longer are the joys thy gift ;
Nor dost thou cause the gloom.
The varied charms that Nature dress
Without thee, now, I fondly view ;
Nor can thy presence, now, renew
The dreary landscape's bloom.
Hence thou may'st know that I'm sincere ;
Thou still art brilliant to my sight,
But not with pure celestial light,
Unparagon'd on earth.
To stain thy charms, some spots appear
That once, ah ! let not truth offend,
Like mellowing shades, but seem'd to lend
Thy brilliancy more worth.
I blush this weakness to relate ;
But, when I snapp'd the pois'nous dart ;
Ah me ! such anguish rent my heart,
Methought I'd perish too.
But who dare call the pangs too great,
That free from servitude the breast ;
That lift a gen'rous soul oppres'd,
And all its strength renew ?
Yon bird that in the treach'rous lime
His careless pinion lately dipt,
Of many a downy plume though stript,
Doth freedom still enjoy :
ODE TO NICE.
But soon his newgrown wing, sublime,
Its boldest flight again shall dare ;
Well taught to shun the specious snare
That lures but to destroy.
These words I know thou'lt not believe,
That now disclaim thy wonted sway ;
These frequent boasts, I hear thee say,
My thraldom but declare.
But, Ellen, didst thou ne'er perceive
That mortals taste no joy more sweet,
Than former perils to repeat
And muse on former care ?
Thus, all the fury of the fight
The war-worn vet'ran loves to tell ;
And, while proud thoughts his bosom swell,
Gives all his scars to view.
The slave restor'd to freedom's light
Tells o'er and o'er a captive's woe ;
And, inly joy'd, he loves to show
The galling chain he drew.
In truth, I care not if I seem
Sincere or guileful to thine eye ;
Mere selfishness to gratify
Is now my sole desire.
If, when I chance to be thy theme,
Thy bosom still remain at ease,
If what I speak offend or please,
I care not to inquire.
I from a false inconstant go,
And take a heart once truly thine ;
Which should rejoice, or which repine,
'Tis not my part to say.
But, Ellen ne'er again shall know
A love like mine so fond, so true ;
While false dissemblers rise to view,
The growth of every day.
WRITTEN TO ITALIAN MUSIC.
SWEET Maid, could wealth or power
Thy heart to love incline,
I would not bless the hour,
The hour that calls thee mine.
Ah ! no, beneath the Heaven
Blooms not so fair a flower
As love that's freely given.
Dear youth, have not these eyes,
To thine so oft returning,
Ah ! say, have not these tell-tale sighs,
These cheeks with blushes burning,
My every thought bespoken ?
Do these denote disguise ?
Do these false love betoken ?
Oh ! bliss, all bliss transcending,
When souls congenial blending,
The sacred flame inspire
Of love's etherial fire.
Such love, from change secure,
For ever shall endure.
True love like this, of heavenly birth,
Not here confin'd to mortal earth,
Shall to immortal Heaven aspire.
OLD D OBBIN.
OH MUSE ! I feel my genius rise
On soaring pinions to the skies.
Whom shall I sing ? The Muse replies
Come then, sweet Goddess, come, I pray,
Assist me with responsive lay,
To all I sing you need but say
Who, in this world of varying ill,
Keeps on his even tenor still,
Nor fails his duty to fulfil ?
104 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.
Who, while with passions men are blind,
Ne'er lets impatience stir his mind,
But jogs on steady, slow and kind ?
Who, ne'er for taunt nor scoff will budge,
But goes along with easy trudge,
As grave and solemn as a judge ?
Who like a Stoick, scorns disgrace,
Nor e'er exults in pride of place,
But does each task with equal grace ?
Who then, celestial Muse, may claim
The high reward of spotless fame,
The glory of a deathless name ?
ADDRESSED TO A LADY, AS AN APOLOGY FOR NOT ACCEPTING HER
INVITATION tO A BALL. WRITTEN MANY
FULL well I know what direful wrath impends,
From Fashion's gay and numerous host of friends,
O'er all who blindly list not in her cause,
Nor swear eternal fealty to her laws.
I know with what despotic sway she rules
O'er old and young, o'er wise as well as fools ;
In what imperious tones she bids the throng
Obey her word, though Heav'n pronounce it wrong.
106 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.
Yet, though my crimes against this power so high
Be numberless, and oft of deepest dye,
Leave I entreat to extenuate my blame :
A right which guiltiest criminals may claim ;
E'en they who fly not at a Lady's call,
And dare withstand the attraction of a ball.
Of magic zones and rings you oft have heard,
By faries on their favorites conferred,
Which pinch'd the wearers sore, or made them bleed,
Whene'er they went astray in thought or deed.
Nor think these stories false because they're old,
But true as this which soon I will unfold.
Sweet sleep had shed its mists around my eyes,
And fancy's motley forms began to rise,
When, 'mid these fleeting phantoms of the night,
A vision stood distinct before my sight.
Though far below the human size it seem'd
A dazzling brightness from its visage beam'd.
My airy dreams it seem'd to chase away,
And thus in sweetest accents deign'd to say :
AN APOLOGY. 107
" Hail, Youth ! In me behold a friendly power,
Thy guard in every place, at every hour,
Who thus appear expos'd to mortal view,
Clearly to mark the course you should pursue.
To me 'tis giv'n your virtue to secure
From custom's force and pleasure's dangerous lure.
I watch the motions of your youthful mind,
Rejoicing when to virtue 'tis inclin'd ;
But when a growing folly is descried,
To root it out, no art I leave untried.
Those drugs I mix in pleasure's luscious bowl
Which pain the body to preserve the soul.
That listlessness, those qualms, those aches I send
Which dissipation's giddy round attend.
Nor let these warnings, by your Guardian giv'n,
By winning pleasure from your thoughts be driv'n.
For if, regardless of my friendly voice,
In Fashion's gaudy scenes your heart rejoice,
Dire punishments shall fall upon your head :
Disgust, and fretfulness, and secret dread.
Unmeaning forms shall swim before your eyes,
Wild as the clouds which float in vernal skies.
108 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.
But if true wisdom all your thoughts employ,
I promise lasting peace and health and joy.
A mind untouch'd by malice or by spleen
Shall make your slumbers light, your thoughts serene ;
And through the ills which mortals must betide
I still will be your counsellor and guide."
So spoke the friendly power ; then, waving light
His azure pinions, vanish J d from my sight.
Such is the guardian Genius, ever near,
Whose love I strive to gain, whose wrath I fear.
But, when his favoring smiles I would secure,
Complaining friendship's frown I oft endure ;
And now, for open breach of Fashion's laws,
A criminal, am forc'd to plead my cause.
Such is my lot ; and though I guilty prove,
Compassion sure my Judge's breast will move.
Not pardon for my fault I hope to find ;
But humbly pray, you'll change to one more kind
The threaten'd sentence, cruel as 'tis hard,
To lose forever your benign regard.
ANSWEE, TO THE PRECEDING,
BY MR. WM. BARD.
SINCE you are vexed, dear Clem at night,
By some uncourtly angry spright,
Who would thy joys restrain :
I now this invitation send,
That previous dreams may you defend
From anguish, grief and pain.
To keep from all, the smallest treats,
If not forewarned by direful threats
110 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.
Of pinches, aches and sorrow ;
Some fair ones whom you once admired,
When by no waspish sylph inspired,
Expect you here to-morrow.
But sure I am, no heavenly power,
Can e'er refuse the mirthful hour,
Dear Clem to me or you ;
Old Homer tells, the Gods would sing,
In dancing too would join the ring.
Then why not mortals too?
This Sylph who plagues you thus by night
Must surely be some surly spright,
Or e'en no spright at all ;
No good objection can he find,
To mirth with innocence combined.
Nor even to a Ball.
OF ONE OF THE CHORUSES IN THE PROMETHEUS OF AESCHYLUS.
OH, may no thought of mine e'er move
The vengeance of almighty Jove !
Ne'er shall my incense cease to rise,
Due to the Powers who rule the skies,
From all the watery domains
O'er which my Father Ocean reigns.
And till his towering billows cease
To roll, lull'd in eternal peace,
* Prometheus is represented as chained to a rock by the command of
Jupiter, for having conveyed fire from Heaven, and having taught the use of
it to men ; for having also instructed them in many useful arts, of which it
had been decreed that they should remain ignorant. The chorus is com
posed of Sea-Nymphs, by whom the address is made.
112 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.
Ne'er shall an impious word of mine
Irreverence mark to power divine.
Lightly flew my former days,
With not a cloud to dim the rays
Of hope, which promis'd peace to send.
And golden pleasures without end.
But what a blast now mars my bliss,
Prometheus, at a scene like this.
While thus thy tortures I behold,
I shudder at the thoughts so bold
Which could impel thee to withstand,
For mortal man, Jove's dread command.
Where's now the aid from mortals due
For all thy deeds of love so true ?
Alas ! their shadowy strength is vain
As dreams which haunt the feverish brain.
How then can fleeting shades like these
Oppose the mighty Thunderer's decrees ?
Such thoughts will rise, such strains will flow,
Prometheus, at thy bitter woe.
How different were the strains we sang
When round thy bridal chamber rang
The voices of the choral throng
Who pour'd the hymeneal song
To thee, and to thy joy, thy pride,
Hesione thy blooming bride !
ACCOMPANYING SOME BALLS MADE FOR A FRAGMENT FAIR, AT THE
REQUEST OF A YOUNG LADY.
MY merry friend, your balls are wound ;
And glad I'll be, if they can bound
As light and brisk as you.
Some thoughts, the ravelings of my brain,
Which here I've wrought into a skein,
Ask your acceptance too.
Mid baubles that attract mankind,
We oft some sober hint may find,
Our reason to employ.
LINES FOR A FRAGMENT FAIR.
To those who view the world aright,
There may arise a moral light
E'en from the merest toy.
These balls, so round and smooth and new,
Have much within them, hid from view,
That's worthless, when alone.
How like is this to many a wight
Whose charms would vanish from the sight,
Could but his heart be shown !
Yet, if our thought again we turn,
An emblem here we may discern
Of what's oft seen on earth :
For, e'en the vicious and the loose
May still be found to have their use,
When awed by solid worth.
What are those forms, so neat and light,
Of dazzling hues and purest white,
That grace your annual fair ?
116 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.
They're shreds, and patches, and odd ends,
The useless rubbish each one sends,
Dispos'd with taste and care.
How much that meets our ears and eyes,
Of what the world calls great and wise,
Is like that showy scene !
Could we but view the secret springs
Of many fair and specious things,
How chang'd would be their mien !
And yet again, we there are taught
The powerful sway that mind and thought
O'er senseless matter hold ;
How genius can, with plastic hand,
In all we see some worth command,
Or hidden charm unfold.
May you and each industrious maid
Whose skillful hands have lent their aid
To deck the fairy show,
LINES FOR A FRAGMENT FAIR. H7
Be deep impress'd by your own work
How much that's false and weak may lurk
Where brightest colours glow.
May your affections there incline
Where native worth and virtue shine
Unchang'd by specious art ;
Where all is natural, frank, and kind ;
Where Truth's all-piercing eye would find
A sound and loyal heart.
TO A LADY.
THY dimpled girls and rosy boys
Rekindle in thy heart the joys
That bless'd thy tender years :
Unheeded fleet the hours away ;
For, while thy cherubs round thee play,
New life thy bosom cheers.
Once more, thou tell'st me, I may taste,
Ere envious time this frame shall waste,
My infant pleasures flown.
TO A LADY. 119
Ah ! there's a ray, of lustre mild,
Illumes the bosom of a child,
To age, alas ! scarce known.
Not for my infant pleasures past
I mourn ; those joys which flew so fast,
They too had many a stain ;
But for the mind, so pure and light,
Which made those joys so fair, so bright,
I sigh, and sigh in vain.
Well I remember you, blest hours !
Your sunbeams bright, your transient showers
Thoughtless I saw you fly;
For distant ills then caus'd no dread,
Nor cared I for the moments fled,
For memory calPd no sigh.
Fond parents swayed my every thought ;
No blame I feared, no praise I sought,
But what their love bestowed :
120 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.
Full soon I learn'd each meaning look j
Nor e'er the angry glance mistook
For that where rapture glowed.
Whene'er night's shadows call'd to rest,
I sought my father, to request
His benediction mild :
A mother's love more loud would speak,
With kiss on kiss she'd print my cheek,
And bless her darling child.
Thy lightest mists and clouds, sweet sleep !
Thy purest opiates thou dost keep,
On infancy to shed.
No guilt there checks thy soft embrace,
And not e'en tears and sobs can chase
Thee from an infant's bed.
The trickling tears which flow'd at night,
Oft hast thou stay'd, 'till morning light
Dispell'd my little woes.
TO A LADY.
So fly before the sunbeam's power
The remnants of the evening shower
Which wet the early rose.
Farewell, bless'd hours ! full fast ye flew,
And that which made your bliss so true
Ye would not leave behind.
The glow of youth ye could not leave ;
But why, why cruelly bereave
Me of my artless mind ?
Childhood's unwrinkled front so fair,
So smooth, so free from touch of care,
Must feel the hand of age :
But can no power preserve the soul
Unharm'd by pleasure's soft coatrol,
Nor rent by passion's rage ?
The changes which o'ertake our frame,
Alas ! are emblems of the same
Which on the mind attend.
Yet who reviews the course he has run,
But thinks were life once more begun,
Unspotted it should end ?
Fond Mother! hope thy bosom warms
That on the prattler in thy arms
Heaven's choicest gifts will flow.
Thus let thy prayer incessant rise
To Him who, thron'd above the skies,
Can feel for man below.
" O ! Thou, whose view is ne'er estrang'd
From innocence, preserve unchang'd
Through life my darling's mind ;
Unchang'd in truth and purity,
Still fearless of futurity,
Still artless, though refin'd.
" A.S oft his anxious nurse hath caught
And sav'd his little hand that sought
The bright, but treacherous, blaze ;
TO A LADY. 123
So let fair Wisdom keep him sure
From glittering vices which allure,
Through life's delusive maze.
" Oh ! may the ills which man enshroud,
As shadows of a transient cloud,
But shade, not stain my boy.
Then may he gently drop to rest,
Calm as a child by sleep oppress'd
And wake to endless joy."
A VISIT FROM ST. NICHOLAS
'TWAS the night before Christmas, when all through the
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse ;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that ST. NICHOLAS soon would be there ;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads ;
And Mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap ;
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name ;
' Now, Dasher ! now, Dancer ! now, Prance r and Vixen !
On ! Comet, on ! Cupid, on ! Dunder and Blitzen
To the top of the porch, to the top of the wall !
Now, dash away, dash away, dash away all !"
A VISIT FROM ST. NICHOLAS. 125
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny rein-deer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name ;
" Now, Dasher f now, Dancer ! now, Prancer and
On, Comet I on, Cupid f on, Donder and Blitzen !
To the top of the porch ! to the top of the wall !
Now dash away ! dash away ! dash away all ! "
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky ;
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St. Nicholas too.
126 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof,
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot ;
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he look'd like a pedlar just opening his pack.
His eyes how they twinkled ! his dimples how merry !
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry !
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow ;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath ;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlfull of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself,
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread ;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
A VISIT FROM ST. NICHOLAS.
And fill'd all the stockings ; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose ;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
" Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night."
FROM A HUSBAND TO HIS WIFE.
THE dreams of Hope that round us play,
And lead along our early youth,
How soon, alas ! they fade away
Before the sober rays of Truth.
And yet there are some joys in life
That Fancy's pencil never drew j
For Fancy's self, my own dear wife,
Ne'er dreamt the bliss I owe to you.
FROM A HUSBAND TO HIS WIFE.
You have awaken'd in my breast
Some chords I ne'er before had known ;
And you've imparted to the rest
A stronger pulse, a deeper tone.
And e'en the troubles that we find
Our peace oft threat'ning to o'erwhelm,
Like foreign foes, but serve to bind
More close in love our little realm.
I've not forgot the magic hour
When youthful passion first I knew ;
When early love was in its flower,
And bright with ev'ry rainbow hue.
Then, fairy visions lightly moved,
And waken'd rapture as they pass'd ;
But faith and love, like yours approved,
Give joys that shall for ever last.
A spotless wife's enduring love,
A darling infant's balmy kiss,
Breathe of the happiness above ;
Too perfect for a world like this.
These heaven-sent pleasures seem too pure
To take a taint from mortal breath ;
For, still unfading, they endure
'Mid sorrow, sickness, pain, and death.
When cruel Palsy's withering blow
Had left my father weak, forlorn,
He yet could weep for joy, to know,
I had a wish'd-for infant born.
And, as he lay in death's embrace,
You saw when last on earth he smil'd ;
You saw the ray that lit his face
When he beheld our darling child.
Strange, mingled scene of bliss and pain !
That, like a dream, before us flies ;
Where, 'midst illusions false and vain,
Substantial joys are seen to rise.
FROM A HUSBAND TO HIS WIFE.
When to your heart our babes you fold,
With all a mother's joy elate,
I fondly think that I behold
A vision of our future state.
Hope comes, with balmy influence fraught,
To heal the wound that rends my heart,
Whene'er it meets the dreadful thought
That all our earthly ties must part.
Bless'd hope, beyond earth's narrow space,
Within high Heaven's eternal bound,
Again to see your angel face,
With all your cherubs clustering round.
Oh ! yes, there are some beams of light
That break upon this world below,
So pure, so steady, and so bright,
They seem from better worlds to flow.
Reflected images are seen
Upon this transient stream of time,
132 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.
Through mists and shades that intervene,
Of things eternal and sublime,
Then let us rightly learn to know
These heavenly messengers of love :
They teach us whence true pleasures flow,
And win our thoughts to joys above.
And e'en when clouds roll o'er our head,
Still let us turn our longing eyes
To where Eternal Love has spread
The changeless azure of the skies.
BY MY LATE WIFE,
ON BEING REQUESTED TO WRITE IN A.N ALBUM.
IN vain, dear Sarah, you command,
In vain would I obey.
Fain would my, now degraded, hand
The heavenly Lyre essay.
Gently I try to touch the chords,
But ah ! I vainly try.
My hand bestows its usual slap ;
The Lyre returns a cry.
134 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.
I seek the Muse, with humble voice
Her sweetest smiles to woo ;
In vain my tongue resumes its tone,
And scolds when it should sue.
At this, as you may well suppose,
No fav'ring glance appears ;
And Helicon, when I would sip,
Is turned to briny tears.
In short, dear Coz, Apollo's now,
To me, an angry God.
My music now is cries and screams,
My Lyre a Birchen Rod.
La Mre de Cinq Enfans.
SENT WITH A BUNCH OF FLOWERS TO A FRIEND MARCH, 1842.
THERE is a language giv'n to flowers,
By which a lover may impart
The bitter anguish that devours,
Or extacy that swells his heart.
And all the feelings of the breast,
Between the extremes of bliss and wo,
By tender flow'rets are exprest,
Or plants that in the wild wood grow.
These new-cull'd blossoms which I send,
With breath so sweet and tints so gay,
I truly know not, my kind friend,
In Flora's language what they say ;
Nor which one hue I should select,
Nor how they all should be combined,
That at a glance, you might detect
The true emotions of my mind.
But, as the rainbow's varied hues,
If mingled in proportions right,
All their distinctive radiance lose,
And only show unspotted white.
Thus, into one I would combine
These colors that so various gleam,
And bid this offering only shine
With friendship's pure and tranquil beam.
ANSWER TO THE PRECEDING-,
BY MR. P. HONE.
FILL'D as thou art with attic fire,
And skill 'd in classic lore divine,
Not yet content, woulds't thou aspire
In Flora's gorgeous wreath to shine ?
Woulds't thou in language of the rose
Lessons of wisdom seek t'impart,
Or in the violet's breath disclose
The feelings of a generous heart ?
Come as thou wilt, my warm regard
And welcome, shall thy steps attend ;
Scholar, musician, florist, bard
More dear to me than all, as friend.
Bring flow'rs and poesy, a goodly store,
Like Dickens' Oliver. I ask for Moore.
ADDRESSED TO THE FASHIONABLE PEOPLE OF NEW YORK, UPON THEIR
RETURN TO THE CITY, AFTER THE DISAPPEARANCE OF THE
YELLOW FEVER IN THE AUTUMN OF
DREAD pestilence hath now fled far away ;
And life and health, once more, around us play ;
The din of commerce spreads from street to street ;
And parted friends with new warm'd friendship meet.
Now many-colour'd nymphs, in noon-tide rows,
To gazing eyes fresh-gather'd charms disclose.
Welcome ! all welcome to your wish'd abodes :
But chiefly you who, skill'd in pleasure's modes,
Forbid your thoughts on humbler themes to dwell,
Receive the welcome of a veteran belle
Whose heart's now dancing at the visions bright
Of high exploits that play in fancy's sight.
Now haste we to our winter's lov'd campaign,
Arm'd for the glorious contests we maintain ;
For wars with all the rules grave matron's teach,
Cold casuists applaud, or parsons preach.
Courage ! dear friends ; our cause shall yet prevail.
But there are notions, hatch'd from doctrines stale,
'Gainst which 'twere well your valorous souls to guard ;
For trifles oft e'en conquerors retard.
We're told by moralists and dull divines
That no pursuit becomes us which confines
Our highest wishes to mere sensual joys,
And thought of dread futurity destroys.
They hold it not, indeed, true wisdom's part
To wear grief's impress ever in the heart ;
But deem "the oblivious temper of our mind
For noble purposes by Heaven design'd ;
FROM A VETERAN BELLE.
To aid mortality beneath the weigh*
Of evils which oppress our tottering state ;
To check despair, and give our reason play ;
Reason, which calls from anxious cares away,
And teaches to behold, with minds serene,
The joys and ills that crowd life's motley scene.
Try now this antique stuff by reason's test.
All science and all rules of action rest
On few clear principles assum'd as true.
The rule we, frolic's children, keep in view
Is this plain truth, whence all true precepts flow ;
Pleasure's the worthiest object man can know.
Not pleasure felt by intellect alone ;
Nor dreams of bliss in distant prospect shown ;
But solid pleasure, present and secure ;
All that can flatter passion, sense allure.
Let no vain fears this golden maxim hide,
But let heart-chilling laws by this be tried ;
Then mark how emptily those croakers prate
Of what beseems our frail inconstant state.
Our frailty well w know ; and 'tis for this
We should forget futurity's abyss,
And snatch from ruthless Time each proffered joy.
Shall we, like drowsy dotards, e'er destroy
Our blissful sports by thought ? of ills the worst
With which humanity by Heaven is curst ?
Thought ! which forever tells some hateful truth ;
Says, wintry age must chill the glow of youth ;
To towering strength decrepitude foretells,
And wrinkles to the cheek where beauty dwells ?
Drive, drive the fiend forever from your breasts ;
On thoughtlessness alone your pleasure rests.
We late, you know, were chas'd by panic fears :
'Tis then but just to claim the due arrears
Of pleasure thus detain'd, and to our store
Of present joys add those withheld before.
Let listless drones serenity approve
In no dull medium let us deign to move.
Society is like a running wheel ;
All parts the same progressive impulse feel ;
FROM A VETERAN BELLE. 143
And yet, towards happiness, the general end,
These various parts with different motions tend.
Calm conscientious minds the centre hold ;
While we are in the swift circumference roll'd.
Those at the centre keep an even way ;
We in eccentric movements round them play.
In quick vicissitudes we're whirl'd around ;
Now rais'd on high, now low upon the ground.
We spurn the safe unchanging course they keep ;
And, while they calmly take their central sleep,
We rush like wind, we make the sparkles fly ;
We raise the dust, and plunge through wet and dry;
We splash the folk, and make the world all know
Our rattling shall be heard where'er we go.
" Enough of argument ; " I hear you cry,
" Where pleasure calls we'll like the lightning fly.
" Come then, ye lofty favorers of the dance
And splendid feast, whom fortune's gifts advance
To eminence in Fashion's wide domain ;
Whose bright example leads a mimic train,
144 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.
With eager steps, your flowery paths to tread ;
Whose ire all deprecate with deeper dread
Than wrath of Heav'n ; for how can Heav'n assist
The heart that mourns an invitation miss'd ?
Come forth with all your gay munificence,
And teach mankind that true pre-eminence,
True dignity, from outward grandeur springs ;
That they rise highest in the scale of things
At whose command the guests most numerous throng ;
Whose halls ring oftenest with the dance and song ;
Who Nature's ill-fram'd laws most boldly slight ;
Convert the night to day, and day to night ;
Decrepitude in youthful sports engage ;
And teach to youth the confidence of age.
" To arms ! ye ever-ready belles, to arms !
Sharpen each glance, and brighten all your charms.
Arouse ! ye gallant beaux, at Fashion's call.
She, to excuse you from the feast or ball,
Will heed no specious plea by sloth alleg'd.
And chiefly you, ye beaux with chins unfledg'd,
FROM A VETERAN BELLE.
Who wisely quit your Algebra and Greek,
True honor in our well-throng'd school to seek,
Now quickly muster all your hopeful band,
Train'd by our care, the glory of the land.
How bright ye shine beyond those awkward clowns
Who care for none but their preceptor's frowns ;
Who heed their noisy sports and cross-grain'd books
More than the fairest fair-one's sweetest looks.
" Men are too oft by this persuasion led ;
That care is due supremely to the head.
But you, ne'er let your learned feet forget
Their chassez, pigeon-wing and pirouette ;
And let mankind by your example know,
The head's no worthier member than the toe.
" Ye tawny minstrels ; wake your viols sweet
Whose measures guide our lightly tripping feet.
Our life, deprived of you, were worse than death.
Your heavenly notes are pleasure's vital breath.
How oft does gloom the crowded hall pervade :
In vain the hostess smiles, the beaux upbraid ;
The whispering murmurs rise, the gape goes round ;
Decorum's self in weariness is drown'd.
But let your magic string's approaching twang
Be heard, and feast of Comus sure ne'er rang
With keener ecstacy and mirth more loud
Than burst tumultuous from the wakening crowd.
Thus, when some bark's becalm'd upon the deep,
The listless passengers lie press'd with sleep
And lassitude ; the moments scarce creep by ;
And Sol seems weary as he climbs the sky.
But, when the skilful mariner foresees,
By tokens sure, a fair approaching breeze,
Then instant life appears in every part ;
All spring alert, for joy fills every heart ;
With various notes the coming breeze they hail ;
Strain every rope, and set each swelling sail.
" Ye powers of sport ! I'm madden'd with delight
By visions flying round, as meteors bright.
Cotillions, concerts, fiddlers, mirth's whole train
Of countless joys, rush wildly through my brain.
FROM A VETERAN BELLE.
Oh ! may the phrenzy catch from soul to soul ;
May all who now own sober law's control
Acknowledge law mere breath, mere ink and paper,
And starch morality not worth a caper,"
TO THE NYMPHS OF MOUNT HARMONY,
AN idle swain late chanc'd to roam
Beneath a grove's leaf-lattic'd dome,
That near a verdant mount was plac'd
Whose brow no title e'er had grac'd
Till nymphs declared the mount should claim
Sweet Harmony's inspiring name.
Here, as the swain at even strayed,
Wooed by the grove's sequester'd shade,
TO THE NYMPHS OF MOUNT HA.RMONY.
With thoughts unfix'd, and vacant eye,
And idly sad, he scarce knew why ;
A mournful spirit of the wood,
Touch'd haply, by his kindred mood,
Soft -sighing from a hawthorn near,
Thus whisper'd in his wond'ring ear.
" A sprite I was, in happier times,
Disporting in the favor'd climes
Of early Greece ; when freedom's ray
Bade mirth through all her regions play ;
When wood-nymphs with their huntress- queen,
The muses and the loves were seen
To sport, like fawns, beside each rill,
And deck, like flow'rets, every hill,
'Twas then I serv'd the lighter joys
Of rural nymphs and sylvan boys ;
And, sportive as the summer airs,
Exulted in my frolic cares.
" Oft, to a playful zephyr chang'd,
Along the reedy banks I rang'd ;
150 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.
Or, sighing o'er the oaten field,
I tried the note each stalk would yield,
In quest of dulcet tones to suit
Some favor'd fawn's or shepherd's flute .
" Oft, in a fleecy vapor's guise,
The zephyrs bore me to the skies :
Where, 'midst the clouds with thunder fraught,
The rainbow's brightest tints I caught ;
Then, melting into finest dews,
Distributed the lovely hues
To opening buds, or full-blown flowers,
Round naiad's couch, or wood-nymph's bowers.
" Oft, in a virgin lily's bell,
I caught the purest dews that fell,
With chaste suffusion to supply
Some weeping Muse's languid eye.
For, tears that from the Muses flow,
Unlike the drops of vulgar wo,
Emit the dew's inconstant gleam,
And soon are chas'd by pleasure's beam
TO THE NYMPHS OF MOUNT HARMONY. 151
" Dear airy partners in delight !
Who skimm'd, like mists, the mountain's height,
Or danc'd along the limpid stream
Illum'd by freedom's golden beam !
Ye perish'd in the floods and gales
That ruin'd all our smiling vales,
And chill 'd and wither'd every bloom
In tyranny's detested gloom !
" A fiend that in the tempest flew
On wing still wet with stygian dew
Rapt me in a hurling blast
Athwart the ocean's dreary vast ;
And set me, with infernal spell,
In this sequester'd grove to dwell.
Here, in my lonely prison bound,
Beset with dire enchantments round,
I've seen whole ages ling'ring go,
With scarce a solace for my wo ;
Till late, beneath the neighb'ring shades,
Methought a band of Tempe's maids,
152 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.
With all their wonted mirth elate,
Came, destin'd by relenting fate,
Their long, long rovings here to cease,
And charm my anguish into peace.
For, as they gambol 'd o'er the green,
Once more I saw Arcadia's scene ;
Again I heard each well-lov'd voice
That bade the Aonian hills rejoice.
But soon the lovely vision pass'd.
Through lonely shades now sweeps the blast,
Where, late, the fairy-footed throng
Prolong' d the dance, or pour'd the song.
If e'er thy bosom, gentle swain,
Was touch'd with sympathetic pain,
Hie thee to where the nymphs now dwell,
And all my sorrows kindly tell.
And say, if e'er this lone retreat
Their lovely band again shall greet,
I'll wake my long-neglected powers ;
Refine the dews, new-tint the flowers.
I'll fringe the trees with speckled moss,
And give their leaves a finer gloss.
TO THE NYMPHS OF MOUNT HARMONY. 153
The painted fly shall learn to fling
Sweet odors from his gaudy wing.
I'll winnow, with my silken sails,
Each noxious breath that taints the gales ;
With sweeter strains the birds inspire,
And lead, myself, the tuneful choir.
TO A YOUNG LADY, ON HER BIHTH-DAY.
To hail thy natal day, fair maid,
Once more I wake the lyre ;
Once more invoke each favoring muse
My accents to inspire.
But frown not if my humble strain
No soothing homage pay
To all the charms that grace thy mind,
Or round thy features play.
TO A YOUNG LADY.
Alas ! the brightest charms but yield
A taper's trembling light ;
When fann'd by praise, awhile they glare,
Then vanish from the sight ;
Or, like the soft unsullied snows
That fall in graceful play,
They shrink beneath the gentlest touch,
And, silent, melt away.
Nor shall the Muse thy foibles mark
With keen relentless eye,
That seem like clouds of lightest wing
That speck the vernal sky.
O ! may young life's empurpled morn,
Still mantling round thy head,
Its balmly airs of youthful hope,
With kindest influence, shed.
May every cloud of darker hue,
Ere evening shades advance,
156 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.
Dissolve away, or just be seen
To skirt the blue expanse.
And may soft tints of rosy light,
With gold of purest ray,
Their mild effulgence widely throw
Around thy closing day.
ON RECEIVING FROM A FRIEND A CARICATURE CAST OF PAGANINI.
A.CCEPT, dear Doctor, my unfeigned thanks
For Paganini's skull and claws and shanks,
And all the wreathed string of bones, beside,
That seem to grate within his shrivelled hide.
One would have thought, while yet the mimic form
Lay snugly in its wrappers, soft and warm,
That 'twas the cast of some fat gouty fellow,
With food surcharg'd, with wine and wassail, mellow.
And, when the spectral figure was uprear'd,
It still, the prey of strong disease appear'd ;
Like some sad victim, doom'd to writhe and twist
Beneath the gripe of fierce Podagra's fist.
Who would believe this skeleton possess'd
Of sovereign empire o'er the human breast ?
Of power to waken sorrow, fear, or rage ;
And then, the bosom's tumult, to assuage ?
Ye deep phrenologists, say, can ye tell
Within what secret caves these wonders dwell 1
What covert way, what faintly shadow'd line
Leads to the cell of Genius ? spark divine !
Genius ! that thing inexplicably strange,
That knows no measure to its boundless range ;
That, in the lowest depth or giddiest height,
Still marks its path with beams of radiant light ;
Whose touch can free ten thousand hidden springs.
And waken powers unknown, in humblest things ;
Can give to each a portion of its fire ;
And, with a fiddle, rapturous joys inspire.
TO MY MUCH ESTEEMED AND HIGHLY GIFTED FRIEND, EDWARD
HODGES, DOCTOR IN MUSIC.
THE troubles of an Organist I sing ;
His duties and his pleasures too.
Nor is his charge a light and trifling thing,
If to his station he be true.
'Tis oft his task, a high and holy end,
By humblest agents, to attain ;
To teach th' Almighty's praises to ascend
From simpering minstrels, pert and vain.
When none but thoughts religious, gentle, kind.
Should reign within the sacred choir,
It is his lot, too often, there to find
Low bickerings, envy, mutual ire.
Such jarring instruments must he combine;
To harmonize such discords, strive ;
Breathings like these unite with themes divine,
To keep devotion's fire alive.
When to each voice its part he hath assign'd,
And all seems right and order'd well,
Some lurking discontent he oft will find,
Some spirit anxious to rebel.
And where the springs of mental discord lie
'Mid vocal harmony conceal 'd,
A touch may bid the choir to fragments fly,
Like blow on glass that's unanneal'd.
One deems it to her dignity a slight
In rank of second to be plac'd ;
THE ORGANIST. 161
Another claims a solo as his right ;
And in a chorus feels disgrac'd.
Oft 'tis the sense of interest alone
That death to harmony prevents ;
And, as in other things, here too is shown
The might of dollars and of cents.
To vex him too, the organ-bellows squeak,
Or finest notes get out of tune ;
Some pipes seem sulky, and refuse to speak,
While some, loquacious, speak too soon.
When to emotions that his soul expand
He would, in noble strains, give vent,
And fills with richest harmony each hand,
'Tis chance, the wind is nearly spent,
And all his thoughts sublime to fury change
At him who should the bellows ply ;
While th' organ utters fading notes so strange,
They seem to mock him as they die.
162 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.
Such, in this life, our lot ! What's noble, grand,
What bids the thoughts to Heav'n ascend,
May on the working of a menial hand,
Or on a breath of air depend.
But when all's done that human pow'r can do
To make his duties smooth and light,
And movements noiseless glide, and notes are true,
Then let him see his heart be right.
For not on purity and depth of tone,
On science link'd with manual skill
And fancy's flights, must he depend alone
His sacred duty to fulfil.
The gifts of Nature, be they e'er so high,
With all that art can teach, combin'd,
Cannot avail the artist to supply
The want of a religious mind.
He finds it not a victory so hard
To make the conquest of his art,
As from vain worldly thoughts to guard
The secret movements of his heart.
Oh ! sacred harmony; ! what lawless feet
Within thy precincts boldly tread !
What vain and reckless triflers there we meet,
Where all should feel a holy dread !
Hence, wanton trills and sliding semitones,
Light-fmger'd runs and turns misplac'd,
Bravuras, from the stage, and love-sick moans,
With which God's worship is disgrac'd.
But in this world of discord and of strife,
A beam from Heav'n may reach us still,
And give the organist both heart and life
His arduous duties to fulfil.
For when, obedient to his skilful hand,
In full accord sweet voices rise,
And holy zeal inspires the sacred band,
He mounts in spirit to the skies.
164 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.
Yes, these are moments of excitement high,
Which hours of misery repay ;
Which call big tears of rapture to his eye,
And snatch him from this world away.
THE PIG- AND THE ROOSTER,.
THE FOLLOWING PIECE OF FCN WAS OCCASIONED BY A SUBJECT FOR COM
POSITION GIVEN TO THE BOYS OF A GRAMMAR SCHOOL ATTENDED
BY ONE OF MY SONS Viz : "WHICH ARE TO BE PREFERRED,
THE PLEASURES OF A PIG OR A CHICKEN?"
ON a warm sunny day, in the midst of July,
A lazy young pig lay stretched out in his sty,
Like some of his betters, most solemnly thinking
That the best things on earth are good eating and
At length, to get rid of the gnats and the flies,
He resolv'd, from his sweet meditations to rise ;
And, to keep his skin pleasant, and pliant, and cool,
He plung'd him, forthwith, in the next muddy pool.
When, at last, he thought fit to arouse from his bath,
A conceited young rooster came just in his path :
A precious smart prig, full in vanity drest,
Who thought, of all creatures, himself far the best.
" Hey day ! little grunter, why where in the world
Are you going so perfum'd, pomatum'd, and curl'd ?
Such delicate odors my senses assail,
And I see such a sly looking twist in your tail,
That you, sure, are intent on some elegant sporting ;
Hurra ! I believe, on my life, you are courting ;
And that figure which moves with such exquisite grace,
Combin'd with the charms of that soft-smiling face,
In one who's so neat and adorn'd with such art,
Cannot fail to secure the most obdurate heart.
And much joy do I wish you, both you and your wife,
For the prospect you have of a nice pleasant life."
" Well, said, master Dunghill," cried Pig in a rage,
" You're, doubtless, the prettiest beau of the age,
With those sweet modest eyes staring out of your head,
And those lumps of raw flesh, all so bloody and red.
THE PIG AND THE ROOSTER.
Mighty graceful you look with those beautiful legs,
Like a squash or a pumpkin on two wooden pegs.
And you've special good reason your own life to vaunt,
And the pleasures of others with insult to taunt ;
Among cackling fools, always clucking or crowing,
And looking up this way and that way, so knowing,
And strutting and swelling, or stretching a wing,
To make you admired by each silly thing ;
And so full of your own precious self, all the time,
That you think common courtesy almost a crime ;
As if all the world was on the look out
To see a young rooster go scratching about."
Hereupon, a debate, like a whirlwind, arose,
Which seem'd fast approaching to bitings and blows ;
'Mid squeaking and grunting, Pig's arguments flowing ;
And Chick venting fury 'twixt screaming and crowing.
At length, to decide the affair, 'twas agreed
That to counsellor Owl they should straightway proceed ;
While each, in his conscience, no motive could show,
But the laudable wish to exult o'er his foe.
Other birds, of all feather, their vigils were keeping,
While Owl, in his nook, was most learnedly sleeping :
For, like a true sage, he preferred the dark night,
When engaged in his work, to the sun's blessed light.
Each stated his plea, and the owl was required
To say whose condition should most be desired.
It seem'd to the judge a strange cause to be put on,
To tell which was better, a fop or a glutton ;
Yet, like a good lawyer, he kept a calm face,
And proceeded, by rule, to examine the case ;
With both his round eyes gave a deep-meaning wink,
And, extending one ta\o,n, he set him to think.
In fine, with a face much inclined for a joke,
And a mock solemn accent, the counsellor spoke
" 'Twixt Rooster and Roaster, this cause to decide,
Would afford me, my friends, much professional pride.
Were each on the table serv'd up, and well dress'd,
I could easily tell which I fancied the best ;
But while both here before me, so lively I see,
This cause is, in truth,, too important for me ;
Without trouble, however, among human kind,
Many dealers in questions like this you may find,
THE PIG AND THE ROOSTER.
Yet, one sober truth, ere we part, I would teach
That the life you each lead is best fitted for each.
'Tis the joy of a cockerel to strut and look big,
And, to wallow in mire, is the bliss of a pig.
But, whose life is more pleasant, when viewed in itself,
Is a question had better be laid on the shelf,
Like many which puzzle deep reasoners' brains,
And reward them with nothing but words for their pains.
So now, my good clients, I have been long awake,
And I pray you, in peace, your departure to take.
Let each one enjoy, with content, his own pleasure,
Nor attempt, by himself, other people to measure."
Thus ended the strife, as does many a fight ;
Each thought his foe wrong, and his own notions right.
Pig turn'd, with a grunt, to his mire anew,
And He-biddy, laughing, cried cock-a-doodle-doo.
LINES FOR VALENTINE'S DAY.
TO A LADY REMARKABLE FOR HER VOCAL POWERS.
Now when the breath of coming Spring
Steals fitful on the air ;
When faithful swains their true-loves sing,
And birds begin to pair,
In sportive mood, I thought to send
A mimic valentine,
To teaze awhile, my little friend,
That merry heart of thine.
I thought, with well-invented strain,
The semblance to assume
Of heart-struck beau or pining swain
Fast hast'ning to the tomb.
But anxious care soon chas'd away
The frolic from my mind.
Yet still, though mirth refuse to stay,
True friendship's left behind.
Then take kind wishes from a friend,
In place of laughing mirth ;
Though well I know the gifts I send
Are dullest things on earth.
And yet, that sober thing, good will,
When heartless glee is past,
With peaceful joy the soul may fill,
Unchanging to the last.
Wearied of Folly's gaudy scene.
How pleas'd the languid eye
Rests on the meadow's quiet green,
Or seeks the azure sky !
Thus, bubbles mantling in the glass,
That vanish ere they're quaff'd,
May leave behind them, when they pass,
A pure and tranquil draught.
Now, young life's vista, to your sight,
Of endless length appears ;
And countless visions of delight
Dispel obtrusive fears.
And youth and health around you bloom
The world's all bright and new ;
And ev'ry floweret sheds perfume ;
And ev'ry heart seems true.
May favoring Heaven continue still
These blessings to impart ;
And may it soon the hope fulfil
That's next each fair-one's heart !
And why should not each gentle breast
Confess the general law ;
3 Tis Nature can instruct us best
Whence truest bliss to draw.
While woodland songsters plume their wings,
With mutual love elate,
Why should the sweetest bird that sings
Still roam without a mate ?
THE WINE DRINKER.
I'LL drink my glass of generous wine ;
And what concern is it of thine
Thou self-erected censor pale,
Forever watching to assail
Each honest, open-hearted fellow
Who takes his liquor ripe and mellow,
And feels delight, in moderate measure,
With chosen friends to share his pleasure ?
THE WINE DRINKER.
Without the aid of pledge or vow,
I hold me temperate quite as thou ;
But that which virtue's course I deem
Keeps clear from ev'ry rash extreme.
If ev'ry good must be refus'd
That may by mortals be abus'd,
E'en abstinence may be excess,
And prove a curse, when meant to bless.
If by the notions of the throng
I must be taught what's right and wrong,
In pity's name, my sober friend,
Say where would be my lesson's end ?
Each gives me his peculiar view
Of what he holds as false or true.
Whate'er I drink, whate'er I eat,
Will some objector's censure meet.
Whate'er I wont, whate'er I will,
Meets with fierce opposition still.
Coffee and tea affect the nerves ;
Who swallows wine, the devil serves ;
176 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.
And he that dares a stronger drink
Must soon to deep perdition sink.
Another sneeringly maintains
That water animalculse contains ;
And, that to be from harm secure,
We ne'er should drink it fresh and pure,
But boil it till from life 'tis free,
Then swallow it in punch or tea.
One thinks it rational and right
To take as guide your appetite.
Another at all food's provok'd
Save flinty crusts in water soak'd.
And would I from opinion draw
My moral or religious law,
And, to suit all, a code complete,
All contradictions there must meet.
Woe to the man whose feeble mind
No rooted principle can find ;
But, by the fashion of the day,
From sober sense is led away ;
THE WINE DRINKER.
Afraid to follow Nature's laws,
Lest he oppose the temperance cause;
Quits common use and common sense,
Lest some weak brother take offence ;
Yet pines in secret that he's bound
To pass the cup untasted round
Amid his friends who, conscience free,
Indulge in harmless social glee ;
And oft will seek, nor seek in vain,
Some subterfuge to break his chain ;
Find out disorders that require
What's prompted only by desire ;
Will ask some doctor to prescribe ;
And turn his vow to jest and gibe.
And 'tis, I fear, too true, alas !
That oft th' intoxicating glass,
In secret swallow'd, and by stealth,
Degrades the mind and mars the health.
Nor is it hid from any eye,
That they who alcohol decry,
Virginia's weed will chew or smoke,
Or opium's treach'rous aid invoke,
And raise for abstinence a clatter
'Mid clouds of smoke, and spit and spatter.
Nor urge th' example we should show
To those of an estate more low.
His life the best example gives
Who after Nature's dictates lives ;
Which, rightly view'd, are laws of God,
And point to paths with safety trod.
As well might you restrain the breeze
That sweeps the main and bends the trees,
Or bid the sun no mists excite,
That cloud the sky and dim his light,
As strive to make mankind agree
To lead their lives from turmoil free.
No lot so low, no mind so meek
That will not for excitement seek.
Nature in bounds unnatural pent
Will find some new and dangerous vent.
Awhile, the blood you may restrain ;
But, held too tight, 'twill burst the vein.
THE WINE DRINKER.
If there be found no other sport,
To feuds and strife will men resort ;
And, mid war's spirit-stirring notes,
Amuse themselves with cutting throats.
E'en they who blame the social cup
Seek means to stir the spirits up ;
And various stimulants they find
Wherewith to intoxicate the mind.
Hence all the temperance bustle comes
Of marshal'd files, with trumps and drums ;
Banners bright, processions long,
Bands of music, speeches, song.
Temperance meetings, temperance halls,
Temperance concerts, temperance balls ;
All that keen politicians know
Can blind you with a specious show,
By which your temperance cause promoters
Hope for a sturdy band of voters.
These follies soon may pass away,
And prove but fashions of a day,
But there's one pageant meets my eyes,
At which indignant feelings rise :
Children I see paraded round,
In badges deck'd, with ribbons bound,
And banners floating o'er their head,
Like victims to the slaughter led.
Ye self-made legislators, how
Presume ye to exact a vow
Or ask a pledge, for aye to bind
Childhood's unthinking, embryo mind?
How can ye dare to fill a child,
Whose spirits should be free and wild,
And only love to run and romp,
With vanity and pride and pomp ?
How can ye answer for the woe
Which many a man, by you, shall know,
Who dares the promise to renounce
You bade him, when a child, pronounce,
Yet still within his bosom keeps
A gnawing worm that never sleeps ?
Come then, your glasses fill, my boys.
Few and inconstant are the joys
THE WINE DRINKER. 181
That come to cheer this world below ;
But nowhere do they brighter flow
Than where kind friends convivial meet,
3 Mid harmless glee and converse sweet.
There's truth in wine, 'tis truly said.
Ye then who feel a secret dread
Your thoughts and feelings to declare,
The influence of wine beware :
In strong relief and colors true
It brings both good and ill to view.
Take salts, and seidlitz, and blue pills ;
Purge out your bile, that source of ills ;
And, till you have a purer soul,
Touch not the truth-betraying bowl.
But you who feel all right within ;
No secret malice, lurking sin ;
No passion dangerous to awake ;
Refuse not sometimes to partake
The moderate glass, which doth impart
New warmth and feeling to the heart ;
182 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.
Commands more generous thoughts to rise,
And adds more strength to friendship's ties
Gives witty thoughts an edge more keen,
And bids retiring worth be seen ;
Gives to the soul of modest youth
A bolder voice in cause of truth ;
By Prudence measur'd, serves t'assuage
The dreary cold of wintry age ;
Impels the blood, with bolder rush,
To lighten up th' indignant blush
That throws its flashes o'er the ice
Of selfish, calculating vice ;
And, in the mind that's pure and wise,
Bids glowing thoughts and visions rise,
That, beaming with unsullied light,
Shun neither Reason's nor Religion's sight.
If such thy virtues, generous wine !
Thy pleasures will I ne'er resign
While health remains, nor e'er refuse,
In praise of thee, t' invoke the Muse.
THE WATER DUINKEH.
AWAY with all your wine-fill'd casks !
To atoms shatter all your flasks ;
And waste the liquor, old and new,
Extoll'd by Bacchus' wanton crew,
'Mid revelry and empty laugh,
With senses maddening, as they quaff
The potion that destroys
All taste of real joys,
184 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.
And brings to earth the soaring mind,
And leaves it dismal, drench'd and blind.
To me you hold the glass in vain
Of foaming, dancing, bright champaigne.
Talk not to me of generous wine
That grows along the banks of Rhine ;
Nor boast your well-assorted stock
Of choice Madeira, Port, and Hock,
Of Sherry, Burgundy and Claret,
Close stow'd in cellar and in garret !
Though drunkards may their worth extol,
They're but the brood of Alcohol,
That dsemon sent, in Heaven's ire,
Breathing out infernal fire,
And raging with intense desire
The host of damned souls to swell,
And rouse new uproar in the depths of hell.
Water is the best of things ! *
So sang a famous bard of old
API2TON JLSV ti<5w. PlNDAR.
THE WATER DRINKER. 185
Then lead me to pure gushing springs,
Or pebbly runnels clear and cold,
Or margin of transparent lake,
Or streamlet from the crystal pool.
My burning thirst there let me slake ;
My parched lips there let me cool.
Would you untainted pleasures know,
Seek where the mountain waters flow ;
And near them dwell, and from them dip
The only drink that wets your lip,
Save milk fresh drawn from lowing herds,
Or wholesome whey of milk-white curds.
So shall the current in each vein
Flow gently, and no gouty pain
E'er rack your joints or cloud your brain ;
No morbid cravings vex your soul
To quaff th' intoxicating bowl ;
No pois'nous fumes your breath inflame ;
No tremors agitate your frame ;
No goblin visions of the night
E'er haunt your slumbers pure and light
That softly leave your opening eyes,
Like dews that in the sunbeam rise,
And yield refreshment to the mind,
Nor leave, when gone, a stain behind ;
No vertigos your brain perplex ;
No bursts of rage your bosom vex ;
No burning stimulants excite
A false and morbid appetite,
Forever raging after food
That genders in the frame a brood
Of ills that scourge us like a pest,
At gorging surfeit's dire behest,
From which no healing power can save
The victims hast'ning to an early grave.
Nor ever tempted to obey
Unruly passion's lawless sway,
The influence of Virtue's balm
Shall give your soul a sacred calm ;
While bracing breath of mountain air
Shall nerve your frame, fatigue to bear,
And free your mind from boding care.
THE WATER DRINKER.
Your stream of life shall even glide,
Not with an ebbing, flowing tide ;
But to its final outlet go
With quiet unperceived flow.
To this pure element I'll raise,
While breath endures, my notes of praise.
Whether, to fertilize the plains,
It soft descend in gentle rains,
Or rush forth gaily from the hills,
In torrents loud and gurgling rills,
Or flow 'mid sands of purest white,
Or shine o'er pebbles clean and bright,
Or through the verdant meadow creep,
Or swift from rock to rock it leap ;
Howe'er disguis'd by Nature's power,
In chrystal ice or snowy shower ;
Whether to open sight reveal 'd,
Or in the ambient air conceal'd ;
In misty vapor if it rest
Upon some lofty mountain's breast,
In clouds bedeck the welkin blue,
Or, heav'n-distill'd, descend in dew ;
In earth or sky, wherever found,
The praise of water I'll resound.
Of all the pure perennial springs
With which our native land is blest,
My mem'ry loves the Muse that sings
Of one fair fount above the rest.
He that would purer nectar drink
Than Hebe e'er pour'd out to Jove,
Must haste to Lehi's verdant brink,
And there, in sultry season, rove.
'Mid shades he shall a rock perceive
With bosom hollow'd to receive
A secret spring ; yet to the eye,
At first, 'twill seem all void and dry,
And not, until he draw more near,
Shall he observe a pool so clear,
So cool, so colorless and pure,
That even Bacchus 'twould allure
To leave his wine and favorite lass,
And cool his palate with a glass.
THE WATER DRINKER. 189
E'en Jove himself would give the nod,
And brand it liquor for a god.
Ye Nymphs and Naiads who preside
O'er chrystal founts and streams that glide
Throughout our land, dispensing wealth,
Imparting beauty, life and health,
Fain would I, in my verse prolong
The honors that to you belong ;
But I am caution'd by the Muse
One favorite from the rest to choose,
To whom our native city owes
The warmest eulogy that flows
From orator's or poet's lips ;
'Tis she who gay and sportive trips
O'er Croton's rude and rocky banks,*
With lighter foot and wilder pranks
Than woodland deer or mountain fawn
Upspringing at the break of dawn.
Crotona ! be thy honor'd name
The theme of never-dying fame !
* The movements of this river are such, that the country people call it
And be thou Naiad, Nymph, or Sprite,
Thy praise shall be my chief delight.
The Muse once saw her, in a frolic hour,
Disporting in a summer shower ;
From rock to rock, from ledge to ledge,
Bounding along her river's edge,
Laughing like a heedless child,
With looks as innocent and wild ;
And naught thrown o'er her graceful form
To shield it from the raging storm,
Save her own locks in many a fold,
That, dripping, look'd like molten gold.
With laugh suppress'd and half-clos'd eyes,
She now would to the dropping skies
Her face upturn and catch the rain
That rudely pelted her in vain ;
Of storm, nor wet was she afraid ;
For in her element she play'd.
With uprais'd arm and drooping hand,
She, ever and anon, would stand,
And watch the pearly drops descend
From ev*ry taper finger's end ;
THE WATER DRINKER.
Or smile to see the hail rebound
Light from her shoulder to the ground.
And when the sun, with fervid ray,
Had chas'd the wat'ry clouds away,
She gaily spread her golden hair,
And wav'd it in the drying air ;
Then o'er her temples graceful wound,
With many a ringlet flowing round.
And when the Muse she chanc'd to spy
Beholding her with laughing eye,
With rapid foot she touch'd the wave,
And, at the signal which she gave,
A wreathed mist the stream upsent,
With shining dew-drops all besprent,
That, like soft down with mingled pearls,
Enwrap'd her limbs and flowing curls.
And dancing spray, around her head,
Such brilliant rainbow colors shed,
That while in fitful mood they gleam'd,
A Urd of paradise she seem'd.
In conscious beauty's happiest mood,
A moment, she exulting stood ;
Then to the Muse she wav'd adieu,
And in her grotto vanish'd from the view.
Pure water ! thus if thou dost flow
With blessings to this world of woe ;
If such the powers that round thee throng,
Be thou my only drink, my only song !
SENT TO A YOUNG LADY, WITH A PAIR OF GLOVES.
Go envied glove, with anxious care,
From scorching suns and withering air,
Belinda's hand to guard.
And let no folds offend the sight ;
Nor let thy seams, perversely tight,
With hasty rents be marr'd.
Nor fear the fate that oft attends
On truest faith and long-tried friends
With shame to be displac'd.
194 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.
You'll ne'er be own'd by menial hag ;
Nor e'er in form of button-bag
Or thumb-stall be disgrac'd.
Ere envious time shall bid thee rue
The loss of this thy spotless hue
That now excels the snow,
Some swain, who for Belinda sighs,
Shall bear thee off, a richer prize
Than monarchs could bestow.
By him, in triumph, thou'lt be borne,
And in his faithful bosom worn,
No ! never thence to part.
What earthly lot can thine excel ?
First on Belinda's hand to dwell,
Then, near a constant heart.
IN ANSWER TO A YOUNG LADY'S INVITATION TO MAKE ONE OF A PARTY OP
PLEASURE ON AN EXCURSION INTO THE COUNTRY.
MY ear still vibrates with thy sweet command ;
Still, tremulous, I hold thy parting hand ;
1 see thy smile still witching me away ;
Yet must this willing heart still disobey.
Yes, lovely tempter, yes, I must forego
A. transient bliss that leaves a lasting woe.
In shades I dwell where each severer Muse,
And thought, and silence, spread their pallid hues.
But when I bask beneath the melting rays
Of joyous rosy light that round thee plays,
At thought of these my solitary shades,
A chilling horror all my frame pervades.
The Graces that around thee lightly trip,
The Joys that laugh upon thy ruby lip,
The flutt'ring Loves that, watchful to beguile,
Direct thy glance and lurk beneath thy smile,
They mar my soul for contemplation's powers,
For learning's rugged paths and weary hours,
For deep research that strains the mental eye,
And daring thoughts that soar beyond the sky.
Glide on, sweet maid, in pleasure's gilded barque,
Still blithe and tuneful as the morning lark ;
Still let the melting music of thy tongue
Delight the old and captivate the young ;
Still, laughing, lead along the sportive train
Whose breasts can feel no deep-devouring pain
But Oh ! if e'er thou mark some gentle youth,
In whose fond breast dwell loyalty and truth,
Let not a conquest's momentary bliss
Tempt thee to trifle with a heart like this.
The breast which generous love and honor swell
Is sacred as the fane where Angels dwell :
The sacrilege that tempts its holy fire
Fails not to rouse a guardian Spirit's ire.
Go now, and may thy heaven-attemper'd mind,
Ere long, some pure congenial spirit find ;
Some swift etherial soul, that shall delight
To chase and take thee in thy wildest flight.
Nor let thy flights and frolics chase away
All thought of him who pours this parting lay ;
Whose bosom, mingled pains and tumults swell
While thus he bids farewell a sad farewell !
OCCASIONED BY THE FOLLOWING NOTICE, COPIED INTO THE NEW YORK
AMERICAN, FROM A BALTIMORE PAPER, DURING THE PREVALENCE
OF THE CHOLERA IN NEW YORK, IN THE SUMMER OF 1832.
"Died on Thursday last, at Hospital No. 3, Sister Mary Frances, one of
those Angels in human form, who are found, not in the abode of luxury, but in
all our hospitals, supplying the wants of, and ministering comfort and conso
lation to, the sick and the dying, regardless of personal danger, and rejecting
all temporal compensation.
" The deceased was found in the morning attending as usual to the patients
in the hospital, with the smile of peace and serenity on her countenance, she
sickened about 8 o'clock, and by 7 in the evening was a corpse."
SHE WAS ONE OF THE SISTERS OF CHARITY.
YE sacred Sisters ; not for you, this strain :
You heed no minstrelsy of earth-strung lyre ;
The softest siren notes would sound in vain
To ears impatient for the heavenly choir.
THE SISTERS OF CHARITY.
But who that toils through life's rough devious way,
If some fair prospect open on his sight,
Seeks not his fellow wanderer's steps to stay,
And make them partners in his own delight ?
Turn then, all ye who, with indignant mind,
Behold the vileness of this mortal state ;
Where craft and guile on ev'ry hand you find,
With all the forms of selfishness and hate ;
Here let your misanthropic brow unbend,
And warmest feelings of the heart expand ;
For, if to earth some gleams of Heaven descend,
They sure must light upon this sacred band.
And ye who sport beneath the golden beams
That o'er youth's jocund morning shed their light ;
To whom the downward path of life still seems
Immeasurably distant from the sight ;
Oh ! think me not a censor cold and stern,
A frowning foe to all that's bright and gay,
If, for a moment, I would have you turn,
And see these Sisters tread their holy way.
I would not bid fierce superstition's power
Bear down your minds, in sullen gloom to grope :
I would not overcloud one radiant hour,
Nor crush one rising bud of youthful hope :
But stay awhile, nor all your moments waste
For joys inconstant as the vernal sky.
You here may deep, though silent pleasure taste,
Whose impress on the soul shall never die.
For how can earth present a goodlier scene,-
Or what can waken rapture more refin'd,
Than dauntless courage, silent and serene,
With maiden gentleness and love combin'd ?
Behold, in yon receptacle of wo,
Where victims of disease assembled lie,
That gliding form, with noiseless footstep go,
From couch to couch, her angel task to ply.
THE SISTERS OF CHARITY.
She dwells 'mid sounds and sights of pain and death ;
The feeble plaint, the involuntary cry,
The fierce convulsive throw, the fainting breath,
The heaving groan, the deep-drawn burning sigh.
Oh ! child of frolic, in whose giddy brain
Delusive Fancy's ever on the wing,
Think you this holy maid knows naught but pain ?
That in her path no lovely flowrets spring ?
Gay visions round your pillow nightly throng;
The morning ramble and the evening dance,
The rout, the feast, the soul-entrancing song,
The flatterer's whisper, and the lover's glance.
Around her couch, no brilliant phantoms play ;
No airy spectre of past pleasure flies :
But deeds of mercy which have mark'd the day
Give tranquil slumber to her tear-stain'd eyes.
They're precious gems, those tears that wet her cheek ;
Worth more than all the treasures earth can show.
The noblest language of the heart they speak ;
From high and holy ecstacy they flow.
Her feelings ye alone can understand
Whose deeds have wak'd the sufferer's grateful
Who've felt the pressure of the dying hand ;
Sweet recompense of all your pious care.
No sad nor strange reverse her pleasures dread ;
Of time and chance, they mock the strong control.
Her Heaven-aspiring virtues ever shed
A cloudless light upon her peaceful soul.
The baubles that command this world's esteem
No resting place within her mind can gain :
Like idle motes that cross the solar beam
They serve to make her spirit's source more plain.
Yes ! such this sacred band ; such peace is theirs ;
Unchang'd when days shine bright or tempests lower.
THE SISTERS OF CHARITY. 203
Through life they pass, untainted by its cares ;
When death draws near, they gladly hail his power.
And then, like birds that seek a better clime,
On swift untiring wing their spirits rise,
And gladly leave this turbid stream of time,
To take their homeward progress through the skies.
TO MY DAUGHTER,
ON HER MARRIAGE 1836.
FOR you, my Margaret dear, I have no art
To sing a jocund hymeneal strain :
What rises strong and deep within the heart
Must ever have some touch, at least, of pain.
Nor know I that the bird of merriest lay
Gives happiest omen in the bridal hour ;
That gaudy flowers, with brilliant tints and gay,
May best adorn the sacred nuptial bower.
TO MY DAUGHTER.
But think me not of mind morose and sad,
Where naught but sullen censure finds abode,
If, in the midst of voices blithe and glad,
I greet you with a song of graver mode.
The glow on pleasure's cheek, it is not this
That always tells where heartfelt joys appear ;
The hidden wellsprings of our purest bliss
Are oft betoken'd by the gushing tear.
I am not like the parent bird that tries
To lure its young-one from the fostering home ;
That gladly sees its new-fledg'd offspring rise
On outspread wing, in distant shades to roam :
Yet I were form'd in Nature's sternest mood,
Did not my inmost soul with you rejoice,
To see your lot amid the wise and good,
The gentlest friends, the husband of your choice.
Mysterious bond, that kindred souls unites!
Great law of nature hallowed from above !
206 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.
Bless'd remnant oflost Eden's pure delights!
The sum of all our bliss connubial love !
Oh, holy flame ! seraphic influence mild !
Sweet incense, kindled by celestial ray !
For ever warm the bosom of my child,
And gently sooth her through life's rugged way !
And you, my child, while yet your life is strong,
While in the calm of peace your thoughts repose,
Prepare for ills that to our state belong,
And arm you to contend with numerous foes.
For many ills unseen beset us round,
And many foes within ourselves we raise.
What sudden checks in smoothest paths are found !
How few and fleeting are our golden days !
At Hymen's altar when we plight our truth,
For letter and for worse, we thoughtless say ;
We dream of only good ; the heart of youth
Drives ev'ry fear of distant ills away.
TO MY DAUGHTER.
Till death do part, how gaily we repeat
When joy and health are in their prime and strength
Life is a vista then whose borders meet ;
So endless, to our fancy, seems its length.
But oh ! how soon we pass this endless track,
That, like perspective art, deludes our view :
And, when we turn and on our path look back,
How short the distance ! and our steps how few !
Trust not the gilded mists and clouds that rise
Where flattering Hope and fickle Fancy reign ;
But turn from these, and seek with anxious eyes
The clear bright atmosphere of Truth's domain.
Ascend, full oft, her highest vantage ground,
And look beyond the circuit of this earth.
Review the things its narrow limits bound ;
And, with her guidance, learn to scan their worth.
Nor think that with relentless stern regard
She frowns on all our fleeting pleasures here.
Believe me, no true joys by her are marr'd,
But, in her light, more lovely they appear.
And now, while youth and health are in their bloom,
Why should you dread to look beyond this state ?
The traveller's pleasure knows no boding gloom
Because the charms of home his steps await.
Thus, like the compass, shall your tranquil soul,
With one wish'd haven steady in its view,
Though tempests rage and threat'ning billows roll,
Rest even-pois'd, and point for ever true.
TO THE MEMORY OF MISS SUSAN MOORE,* WRITTEN BY MY LATE WIFE.
FORGIVE the humble Muse that strives to raise
To thee, bless'd saint, her feeble voice of praise ;
That dares attempt thy worth to sing,
Who now, with sister Cherubims
And Angels, to the Almighty King
Dost ceaseless chant forth heavenly hymns.
* Susan Moore, daughter of the late Dr. William Moore, died in 1814.
She was a most lovely young creature; the delight of all who knew her.
She suffered so much pain during her last illness, that, shortly beforo her
death, she uttered the exclamation with which these lines conclude.
Oh ! that my strains were as my subject high !
Then would they equal those which swelPd the sky
When joyful angels quiring bore
Thy spirit to the realms of light,
Glad that the mournful hour was o'er
While yet it struggled for its flight.
For, as thy friends the bed of death stood nigh,
Attending seraphs heav'd the pitying sigh,
To think what tears, what griefs, must flow
From loss of such sweet innocence,
To think what pangs their breasts must know
Who mourn'd such matchless excellence.
For thou wast pure as is the transient snow
That falls as if its whiteness but to show ;
And fearful lest a longer stay
Its virgin purity should stain,
Dissolves beneath the fervid ray
That draws it up to Heaven again.
And yet, that last, that melancholy hour
Rais'd thee from earth to life, immortal flower !
ON THE DEATH OF A YOUNG LADY.
Oh ! how does even grief rejoice,
The tear dry in affliction's eye,
When memory gives thy parting voice
Exclaiming, " Oh ! how sweet to die ! "
THESE LINES WERE WRITTEN AFTER READING THE DEDICATION OF SOUTHEY's
"TALE OF PARAGUAY," THOUGH NEVER SENT TO HIM. THEY CON
TAIN NOTHING FICTITIOUS. 1832.
SOUTHEY, I love the magic of thy lyre,
That calms, at will, or sets the soul on fire ;
Whose changeful notes through ev'ry mode can stray,
From deep-toned horror to the sprighliest lay.
In Fancy's wilds with you I love to roam,
Where all things strange and monstrous make their home.
And when from wild imagination's dreams
You wake to holy or heroic themes,
My spirit owns the impulse of your strains ;
My circling blood flows freer through my veins.
Yet not amid these wonders of your art
I find the trembling key-note of my heart.
'Tis not the depth and strength of tone that bring
Responsive murmurs from a neighboring string.
Soft sympathetic sounds and tremors rise
Only from chords attun'd to harmonize.
'Tis when you pour the simple plaintive strain
That tells a fond bereaved parent's pain,
J Tis when you sing of dear ones gone to rest,
I feel each fibre vibrate in my breast.
Alas ! too well, bereavement's pangs I know ;
Too well, a parent's and a husband's woe.
To crown the numerous blessings of my life,
I had sweet children and a lovely wife.
All seem'd so firm, so ordered to endure,
That, fool ! I fancied all around secure.
Heav'n seem'd to smile ; Hope whisper'd to my heart,
These love-wrought ties shall never rudely part ;
But Time, with slow advance and gentle hand,
Shall loosen, one by one, each sacred band.
The old shall Jirst drop peaceful in the tomb,
And leave the young to Jill their vacant room.
214 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.
Life's pleasures sliall not wither at a Now,
But quiet pass, with mild decay and slow.
The buoyant joys of youth, so bright and fair,
Like rainbow tints, shall mellow into air.
But sad reality has prov'd how vain
This faithless prospect of a dreaming brain.
Death's icy hand, within three fleeting years,
Has chang'd this scene of bliss to sighs and tears.
One lovely innocent was snatch'd away
A rose-bud, not half-open'd to the day
I saw my wife, then, to the grave descend,
Beloved of my heart, my bosom friend.
So interwoven were our joys, our pains,
That, as I weeping follow'd her remains,
I thought to tell her of the mournful scene
I could not realize the gulph between.
This was not all ; there was another blo\v
Reserv'd to put the finish to my woe.
A sweet endearing creature perish'd last,
In youth's first spring, all childhood's dangers past
Oh ! awful trial of religion's power,
To see a suffering innocent's last hour !
But mark me well I would not change one jot
Of Heaven's decrees, to meliorate my lot :
Farewell to earthly bliss, to all that's bright !
No thought rebels ; I know, I feel 'tis right.
Nor should I mourn as though of all bereft :
Some transient pleasures, here and there, are left ;
Some short-liv'd flowers that in the forest bloom,
And scatter fragrance in the settled gloom.
I look not round, and peevishly repine,
As though no other sorrow equall'd mine.
I boast no proud preeminence of pain
But oh ! these spectres that infest my brain !
My death-struck child, with nostrils breathing wide,
Turning in vain, for ease, from side to side ;
The fitful flush that lit her half-closed eye,
And burned her sunken cheek ; her plaintive cry ;
Her dying gasp ; and, as she sank to rest,
Her wither'd hands cross'd gently o'er her breast.
My dying wife's emaciated form,
So late, with youthful spirit fresh and warm.
The deep, but noiseless anguish of her mind
At leaving all she lov'd on earth behind.
216 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.
The silent tear that down her cheek would stray,
And wet the pillow where resign'd she lay.
Her stiffen'd limbs, all powerless and weak ;
Her clay-cold parting kiss ; her pale damp cheek ;
Her awful prayer for mercy, at the last,
Fainter and fainter, till her spirit pass'd
The image of the next lov'd sufferer too
Is ever, ever present to my view.
Her ceaseless cough her quick and panting breath,
With all the dreadful harbingers of death.
No anxious mother watching at her side,
To whisper consolation as she died.
Oh ! do not ask me why I thus complain
To you a stranger, far across the main
Bear with a bleeding heart that loves to tell
Its sorrows, and on all its pangs to dwell.
A strange relief the mourner's bosom knows
In clinging close and closer to its woes.
In unheard plaints it consolation finds
And weeps and murmurs to the heedless winds.